The difference a year makes

  • Illustration by Alland, eighth grade, AMY Northwest Middle School

December 2020…Students in several schools offering the Healthy NewsWorks program were asked to write and illustrate their reflections of how the start of the 2020–21 school year compared with the year before. Here’s a sampling of their responses:

“A year ago, I remember a normal life, life without masks required, waking up, attending school, having fun with my friends every day. Now we can’t even go outside without a mask. I never get to see my friends, and school is online. I’m subjected to sitting in front of a screen for hours, which isn’t that motivating! I would have to say life today isn’t the same and I am looking forward to life going back to normal if that’s even possible.”
—Samyah, eighth grade, AMY Northwest Middle School

“Last year, on December the 3rd, I was in 3rd grade and there was no COVID-19. We went to normal school and we did not have to wear a mask. I was in dance class and I lived in my old house. Now I have a new house. I like it but I miss my old friends on my block. Everything was open and no cities were shut down, so we could go to parties and we could go to our friends’ houses. Also, nobody was getting really sick, and everyone was allowed to be together.”
—Maleah, fourth grade, James Logan Elementary School

“When the pandemic started, I thought we were going out of school for a few weeks, until it became almost a whole year. All of us are stuck in quarantine doing online school and it’s getting worse. [Looking at a screen all the time] is giving us a headache and you can’t meet anybody in person but your family. But we are starting to get a vaccine to protect against coronavirus. Now it’s almost the end of the year and corona! I hope next year is better, so we can forget about this year.
—Makayla , fifth grade, Willam Cramp Elementary School

“Some things that changed are online school, social distancing, and wearing masks. Also, another thing that has changed is that I’m stuck at home with not many activities to do and not able to see many friends. Some things that are the same are learning new subjects in school, answering questions from the teachers, and even doing homework.
—Alba, fourth grade, Cole Manor Elementary School


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