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As school approaches, kids sound off on reopening

Parents have weighed in on reopening schools. Teachers have weighed in. Public health experts, too, along with cities, states and President Donald Trump.

But what about the kids themselves? As the grown-ups fret, kindergartners to high schoolers faced with a range of scenarios for virtual and in-person classes are expressing both fear and glee over leaving home to learn, as explored in an article by The Associated Press this week.

Many said they’re most worried about fellow students breaking the rules on wearing masks and keeping their distance, especially in areas that are hot spots for the coronavirus.

“We’ll be home in a month,” said a skeptical Peter Klamka, an eighth-grader in Las Vegas, which is in a county that logged 95% of new coronavirus cases reported in Nevada early last week.

“Some kids will be more responsible than others. I’m not looking forward to it but I’ve got to go school so I’d rather be there in person,” Peter said.

In Alpharetta, Georgia, 10-year-old Collier Evans will attend school remotely when he begins fifth grade Aug. 17. He could have gone in person full-time or picked a blended option, but said he was anxious about returning to school.

“My parents and me, we said we don’t want to go in a classroom, get sick and then I’d bring it home and get my family sick,” Collier said.

As for distance learning, he said: “I hope it’s going to go better than last year. You had to wait in a queue for like 30 minutes to ask the teacher one question.”

Ella Springer, 14, of Kenosha, Wisconsin, will start her sophomore year of high school at home after her school board rescinded an in-class option to open the fall semester. That could change as the year progresses.

“At first I was wanting to go back to school in person but I feel like, watching the numbers in Wisconsin, it makes more sense to go back virtual because it’s rising,” she said. “It’s pretty boring at home but what can you do? Last year the virtual was easier for me to slack off at home because it was a loose kind of thing, but I feel like this year will go a lot better since they’ve had the whole summer to prepare.”

This fall semester will be a learning experience for all of us — and if we’re being honest, it seems a little unfair to expect children to adhere to strict rules regarding social distancing and wearing masks when they watched the entire country bicker over it all summer long.

The article proved much of the same; children are unique, and have their own personal thoughts on what “normal” looks like moving forward. We can only hope that our local students and faculty members stay as safe as possible moving into the new semester.

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