'I'm so sad that I can't see my friends': Elementary school kids not shy about sharing their thoughts on distance learning

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Wednesday, August 5, 2020
Here's how elementary school students really feel about the upcoming school year
We asked California elementary school students to share their thoughts on the upcoming school year. For all of them, it will start with distanced learning -- something that many are not so happy about.

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- We've heard from officials, health experts, and parents about the upcoming school year but what about the kids? Many of them finished last year doing distance learning and will start at a distance in the coming weeks. We asked parents to send in videos where their kids give their own opinions about the coming school year. Let's just say the little ones didn't hold back.

Building a Better Bay Area: Back to School

"Hi everyone my name is Mila Kumar!"

"My name is Nolan!"

"My name is Gaby!"

These California youngsters along with many others are about to give you their thoughts on the upcoming school year. For all of them it will start with distanced learning -- something that many are not so happy about.

"I want to go to school," says 7-year-old Caleb Moeller who will be a second-grader at Village Elementary in Santa Rosa.

Eddie Ornelas goes to Ponderosa Elementary School in South San Francisco and says that while he's always liked the idea of learning at home, he misses playing at school.

"I'm sad and happy because I don't get to see my teachers and I don't get to play in recess," Ornelas says.

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Jason Duenas is going into fourth grade at Coronado Elementary School in Richmond and he's had it with this shelter-in-place, "I would like for the coronavirus to be over soon cause I do not like wearing a mask, I can't wait to go back to school to play football with my friends."

But going back to school comes with its own challenges.

"I don't think we should go at Terra Hills and I have this weird strong feeling that it's not gonna work at all," says Nolan Wu who is a third-grader at Terra Hills Elementary in San Pablo.

Nolan then explained to us why it's not going to work, "Because well I think that whenever we come back we're going to be like this cause we haven't seen each other in a while and we're going to be like this. I think it's just gonna be a little too crazy for kids. And you know you're going to need a face shield and a mask and I'm sick of it and many other kids are they might take it off."

Some of those concerns are echoed by the smallest of students. Those like Armando Navarro who is going into the first grade, "I don't feel safe to go to school because coronavirus expanded more and my grandma has diabetes and I'm scared."

Imus Scott from Highland Elementary in Vallejo had similar thoughts, "We should not reopen schools cause kids have a lot of interactions."

It's those interactions that most of these kids are missing.

"Her name is Carly and she is 5 years old. she goes to Yulupa Elementary school and she is just starting kindergarten but she can't go because of the coronavirus and what do you miss about preschool? 'I miss my friends and I miss my other friends from my other class and that's it,'" says Derek and Scarlett Ruiz-Calderon of Santa Rosa.

RELATED: Will online learning improve this fall for CA elementary schools? Here's what teachers, officials say

We talked to Bay Area teachers and school officials about virtual learning struggles and what they're doing to make classwork more robust this fall.

While there is a certain sadness among these children. There is also an understanding among some of the older ones and a push to make the best of the situation.

Gabrielle Marie Garcia of San Lorenzo says, "Here's my opinion for doing distance learning again, I like it because there is so many places in my house where I can concentrate on my work for four hours and then take a little break so I like it because we're safe and we can do more stuff at home."

In fact, 8-year-old Zaria even has some recommendations for parents who are helping with distance learning. She says, "Don't stress out because when you're stressed out, we're stressed out and then there is all this negativity in the room."

And judging by the pictures that all of these families sent in, it appears that most kids are going to do their best to learn at home, from a distance, and on a computer. Taking to the couch, an outside patio, a coffee table, and in a bush. Yes, those like Gaden like learning everywhere.

Here's little Mila from Foster City with one last thought and a big smile, "I'm so sad that I can't see my friends in the fall but we have to stay six feet apart, wear a mask, no hugging, and no touching."

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