What Are Students Looking Forward To This Fall? We Asked Them

Download Audio

As students get ready for a pandemic school year, WBUR checked in with a few about how they are feeling and what they want.

Virginia and Henry Bernstein, rising seventh- and fifth-graders in Franklin Public Schools

Henry and Virginia Bernstein. (Photo Courtesy Camille Bernstein)
Henry and Virginia Bernstein. (Photo Courtesy Camille Bernstein)

Virginia: Henry and I are going back fully remote.

So for me, school means learning, but not just learning information — like the time and dates and stuff — but learning social skills. It's getting hard to do the social skills part remotely, because you're just sitting in your room by yourself, just with your camera off, just not really talking socially with people.

Our mom has asthma, so we're worried for our family — but also the community. Not that one family makes a huge difference. But it would make a difference for our family, and then people that our family is coming in contact with.


We didn't get a say about going back to in-person classes. But if we did, I would go fully remote. We were a part of it, but we heard a lot of information from our parents who are teachers.

I mean, you're handling lives. So it's like if you go back to school: Yeah, kids will learn stuff easier and it'll be social. But then a lot of people could die. And why do you want people to die?

I hope to get the education I need to go on to middle school and I hope that it’s fun-ish.

I'm looking forward to [remote learning]. It's a little more free, so you can choose where you want to be taught. And like, if you just need to turn off your camera and mute yourself, you can get a snack, play with a pet. If we were in the classroom, you have to do what the teacher is telling you or you get in trouble.

Rachel Oppong, rising junior in Worcester Public Schools

(Photo courtesy Rachel Oppong)
(Photo courtesy Rachel Oppong)

I picked the option to do school from home.

I'm just worried about [COVID-19] and catching it, bringing it home to my family. I'm like, "Do I really want to risk giving them the virus, or do do my friends want to risk giving their parents the virus?" I get that learning is a priority — but so is health.

[My friends and I] 'distance' hang out, but it's going to be different than going to school [and] walking through the hallway with hundreds of kids.

The thought of my friends having to quarantine because of one person or because Worcester Public Schools couldn't decided to do everything from home is kind of scary. But at the same time, I see why some people would want to go to school. So I have mixed feelings about it.

Nathan Dickinson, rising seventh-grader in Holliston Public Schools

Nathan Dickinson. (Photo courtesy Nichole Dickinson)
Nathan Dickinson. (Photo courtesy Nichole Dickinson)

I'm excited to go back to [in-person] classes because online school is just such a mess. School is actually somewhat organized.

I think it's pretty cool that we get to see our friends because we haven't seen them in a while. So that's something I'm really excited about. Being at home [and] doing online school, you can see their faces, but it's different in person.

And I'm not really worried about the virus as much. I feel like washing hands is very effective. But if you didn't do that, you're just putting yourself at risk. Anything could happen.

One thing that I want to get out of this year is more learning than we got from the end of the year last year. We're gonna start lacking in education and then college [preparation]. We're going to have to work really hard in high school.

Lincoln Anniballi, rising senior in Natick Public Schools

Lincoln Anniballi. (Courtesy)
Lincoln Anniballi. (Courtesy)

I will be going to school doing the hybrid model.

When we were all online, it was just very difficult for me to focus. So I thought that even though we won't be in full time, it will be best for me to get some experience actually in the building.

I have parents who are high-risk and I live with my grandparents — so I'm, of course, concerned about them, not so much worried about myself. I think that as long as safety precautions are taken, I'm not too worried about it. Of course, there's still some anxiety about it, but I feel pretty safe and secure knowing that my school has a plan for if an outbreak happens. And we'll be wearing masks and socially distancing.

I think that students should be listened to. We are really the ones who will be experiencing school the most. That lack of in-person education really has a great effect, negatively, on our mental health. I know I've experienced that and I've seen it with other students.

It's my senior year. And so I really hope that I can just have a little bit of in-person interactions with teachers and with my fellow students. I’m hopeful that I’ll be able to get through it and it will be better in the spring of 2021.

This article was originally published on September 08, 2020.

This segment aired on September 8, 2020.

Headshot of Carrie Jung

Carrie Jung Senior Reporter, Education
Carrie is a senior education reporter.



More from WBUR

Listen Live