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From School Work To Siblings, Young People Weigh In On What Staying At Home Is Like For Them

Sixth grader Lauren Dawson doing schoolwork at home on a computer.
Mike Dawson

You’ve probably heard stories about what it means to be an adult working from home or out of work. But, what’s it like being a young person out of school? K through 12 students have been at home since March, and WPSU talked with some of those students from central Pennsylvania about what they think of not going to back for the rest of school year and what they’re looking forward to.

Here's some of what they had to say:

My name is Lauren Dawson. I’m in sixth grade, and I go to Mount Nittany Middle School. (Centre County)

I was very bummed out. I really like school, and I like to see my friends, and I liked my teachers that year. And it’s kind of sad that I can’t go back and I won’t be in my teachers classes anymore.

I am still doing school work. I don’t exactly like doing it at home. … When you’re at school, there’s really no distractions, and you can just get your work done, and you can ask the teacher something. And they’ll give you the answer you’re looking for, where your parents, they don’t exactly know what the teachers mean by a certain question.

Sometimes my brothers can be a little annoying. But, I feel like we’re spending more time together than we usually would because we don’t go to the same school, and I don’t get to see them. But now that I get to see them all the time, we’re spending more time together than we usually would.”

I’m Silas Wolfe. I’m in 4th grade, and I go to Frankstown Elementary School. (Blair County)

At first I had a lot of emotions, but mainly it was happy because I wouldn’t be coming back to school, but also kind of sad because I wouldn’t see my friends for the rest of the year.

I’m still doing schoolwork. I like it a lot more because I don’t really have to go to school and have a schedule.

I don’t like that I can’t talk to my teachers physically, and I don’t like that I can really only talk to them twice every week.

I’m looking forward to many things, but the main ones are just my friends, my family and my hockey games and practices.

Jessie Waters, 11th grade, Great Commission School, Blair County.

I’ve been trying to balance the academic motivation with the creative motivation, because I’m a very creative person. I’ll work for school for a couple of hours, and then maybe I’ll go upstairs in my room and paint something or draw something or sing or something, and then go back downstairs and get a couple more assignments done. It’s cool because I’m getting to work on skills that I don’t typically get to work on in a regular education system. There is a bright side to everything.

My mom actually works at the hospital, so she’s been working some pretty long hours. … I’ll do school, and it’s just me and the cats. I try to keep up the motivation and the schedule and stuff, but it’s a little weird.

They’re taking really, really good precautions. She works in dietary, so they closed the dining room. They’re just making the meals for the patients. She wears a mask 24-7, they get their temperatures checked. Whatever. But, it’s something she worries about, and it’s something I worry about too. …  But I try not to make that my primary focus.

Luckily I’m not a senior this year. My senior year next year —it’s going to be different because I know that we’re not just going to be, like snap a finger and we’re going to be back to regular life. Everything is going to kind of change a little bit after this. I’m kind of anxious to see what happens there, but in the end, it’s in God’s hands and there’s not a whole lot I can do about it.

My name is Zachary Lucas. I’m in 4th grade. Grays Woods Elementary. (Centre County)

I was actually very happy until I started doing it. Because it’s harder than it sounds. … I wish I was in school. I just think it’s tough being at home, just working.

The only advantage is… I’m not sure if I should really say this, but definitely a lot more screen time, definitely a lot more screen time.

My name is Gabriel William Lucas. I’m in 6th grade. I go to school at Park Forest Middle School. (Centre County)

At first, I was kind of like OK, nothing big. We’ve been doing this for a while. But when I realized how long it actually was, I’m like OK, I really actually want to go back to school. And then later into it I realized that I’m not going to see most of my friends, I’m not going to see my teachers for the rest of the year, and it kind of hit me, like: stupid Coronavirus, I hate you.

One of my favorite things about school is the last day of school. There is a half day, and it just feels good to know you’ve accomplished the whole entire school year, and you’re on to a new one after summer.

Honestly, I can get sick of Zoom and I just want to have personal communication.

I’m looking forward to go back to school to have more of a structured learning system and getting to see my friends again. … You can actually do communication with people, and not by electronics.

Pennsylvania’s education secretary has said he expects students to go back to school in the fall.

Anne Danahy is a reporter at WPSU. She was a reporter for nearly 12 years at the Centre Daily Times in State College, Pennsylvania, where she earned a number of awards for her coverage of issues including the impact of natural gas development on communities.
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