17 kids describe their first day of school during a pandemic, and it may surprise you.
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The First Day Of School In 2020 Wasn't As Bad As You Thought, According To 17 Kids

Approximately 947 years ago — give or take — schools around the world shut their doors in response to the coronavirus pandemic. Since then, discussion of the 2020-2021 academic year has been fraught with emotional debate. In-person or virtual learning? What about working parents? What about special services? How do we keep everyone safe? Yet even as many districts continue to plan, others have already had their first day of in-person learning. While questions of long-term success and safety remain to be seen, we can still ask: what did kids think of their first day back to school?

None of the children quoted in this article have gone back to a “traditional” classroom. Many schools have halved class size by adopting a “hybrid learning” model where students are only in school two days a week and learn remotely the other three — classrooms that would normally have 20 students only hold 10. Other districts have reorganized classrooms to maintain 6 feet of separation between desks, and kept students in cohorts to avoid contact as much as possible. Most schools had some kind of a mask policy. In many ways, schools, students, and parents are still feeling through a solution and will likely make adaptations through the year. Here’s what 17 pre-and grade-schoolers had to say about this new normal.

Ethan, 10

“The first day of school I felt nervous because I was in a different school. But then I got used to it. I wasn’t really nervous about COVID. We only had half of the kids at school at the same time as me. The other half went other days. They made us sit kind of far apart from each other and wash our hands and use sanitizer a lot. The fifth graders didn’t have to wear a mask, but some of my teachers wear them.”

Luci, 7

"I was happy to see my friends. My classroom is on a different floor, and I have a new teacher."

Elizabeth, 8

"It was kind of weird because masks are hard to breathe in. It was cool to have my first boy teacher."

Brendan, 10

"I was happy and excited to go back to school. I really wanted to go back because it was boring to sit at home. I was basically used to the procedures because of having to wear masks at stores and then when you leave the store or go outside, you can take it off."

Elly, 7

"I was really happy about going back to school and seeing my friends, but also a little nervous. The new rules are fine. They’re good."

Griffin, 8

"I was glad to go back to school, but I don’t like the new rules. We can’t play with other classes at recess, and I’m tired of having to wear a mask. The masks always fog up my glasses!"

Jordan, 5

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"We have to earn the robots!"

OK, this requires a little it of explanation. Apparently, in Jordan's class, there's a special activity where you can play with robots controlled by an iPad. This is something that can be earned with good behavior and, according to his mom, this was all he could talk about after his first day of kindergarten.

Genevieve, 8

"I was so happy to go back to school, even though [Friend 1] and [Friend 2] aren’t in school on the same days as me. We’ve been in the same class since preschool and now we’re not. But we're still best friends. I can still talk to them on Messenger Kids, and there are other nice kids there."

Powell, 6

"Wearing a mask isn't so bad. It’s important to protect people from coronavirus, and I look like a ninja."

Celia, 4

"At school I get to touch my friends. Everywhere else is 6 feet away!"

Raphael, 8

"I like the school days in school better than school days when I’m in my house. It's more fun to see my friends and play on the playground. But on home days, I get to stay in pajamas if I want. And sometimes I get done sooner. Like, at school I have to stay until 3, but at home I can be done at 1 or something."

Sabrina, 5

"My mask is hot, but I have to wear it. I don’t have to wear it when I come home, though. It’s not forever. I was happy to meet my teacher and make new friends."

Gene, 8

"I like going back to school, but I don’t like that I can't ride the bus this year. I don't like that we have to eat in our classroom for lunch. We stay in the classroom all day except for recess."

Bowen, 7

"It's good!"

Bowen's mom asked if he wanted to elaborate and he said, "No. It's screen time now," and turned on Netflix.

Jasmine, 9

"I am so, so, so, so happy I'm back in school. Being home was boring and it was driving me crazy."

Taylor, 9

"We have to wash our hands every five seconds. Not really every five seconds, I'm exaggerating. It was good, though. I wish I could go back five days a week, but two is better than nothing! Maybe when there's a vaccine for coronavirus, things can change and we can go back to normal."

Sebastian, 6

"I didn't trade my mask or let anyone else touch it!"

Good job to Sebastian's parents, for putting the fear of God in him over this one.