Bay Area residents describe how the pandemic is disrupting the new school year -- COVID-19 Diaries

ByJericho Saria KGO logo
Saturday, October 17, 2020
COVID-19 Diaries: A New School Year
"I'm pulling ridiculous hours." A public school teacher pulling 15 hour days. College students afraid of talking to new roommates. A college freshman forced to stay home. A working couple struggling to keep their eye on 3 little ones. See how the COVID-19 pandemic is stretching educators, students and parents thin at the start of the new school year.

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- All summer, Kendall Jensen looked forward to moving into her dorm room as an incoming freshman at the University of California, Santa Barbara--until she was informed via email four weeks before her move that UC Santa Barbara would be closing its on-campus housing due to a surge of COVID-19 cases at the university and surrounding area.

The school has promised Jensen a room for the winter quarter next January if the case count falls, but Jensen says, "I've mentally prepared myself for the fact that I will be staying home for my freshman year."

RELATED: Bay Area residents share what life is like 4 months into pandemic

In ABC7's ongoing series "COVID-19 Diaries," people from across the Bay Area detail the difficulties they're having with education as the coronavirus pandemic rages on. South Bay fourth grade public school teacher, Cheryl Miyake, has turned her own bedroom into a virtual classroom for her 27 students.

Her personal laptop and computer monitor sit perched on stacks of books as she leads her kids in a video chat dance break to stretch their necks and backs. "I'm pulling ridiculous hours," Miyake admits after class is over. She estimates she spends 15 hours a day on work. "I see the more intentional time and love I put into what I do, the more (the students) are able to be empowered and help themselves, and each other."

WATCH: Life during COVID-19: San Mateo high school journalist documents challenges amid pandemic

Edward Huang is a senior and student journalist at San Mateo High School. He has been documenting life during the COVID-19 pandemic and how he's adapted to remote learning, social distancing friendships and teenage life during the shelter-in-place order.

Oakland resident Kirstin Hernandez, a part-time educational consultant, is passing on jobs so she can devote herself full-time to her 3 children as they struggle through online learning. The virtual classroom has been especially difficult for her 5-year-old son, who is just starting kindergarten. "I leave him for a little bit and he's, like, rolling on the floor."

Even with the schooling difficulties, Hernandez says, "I don't think I'd feel comfortable sending our children back (to school) for a while." Her husband, pediatrician Andre Ramos, feels differently. "I'm really worried about how my kids are dealing with not seeing friends, not having any peer interactions. It's been tough."

COVID-19 Diaries is an ABC7 Originals limited series that shares the personal stories of Bay Area people as we work together to cope with coronavirus and re-define what it means to live in the San Francisco Bay Area.