Children’s Views On The Current Normal and Back To School During a Pandemic

Katherine Meger Kelsey, Kids’ Voice of Indiana
Carey Haley Wong, Child Advocates

It’s August, which means one big thing for us in Indiana—school is starting. How to best serve children while also keeping them safe has been at the top of everyone’s mind. It’s a struggle to put together the information we know about the virus with the realities we face, and to then use those two competing buckets of information to come up with a plan.

Of course, we all want our children to be educated and well-socialized. Additionally, parents often need a place for their children to go while they work. At the same time, we need to keep our children safe and healthy. It’s no wonder people are feeling an unprecedented amount of stress and anxiety as we settle into month six of this new “normal.”

As leaders in child welfare, we feel it is necessary to shine a light on this important topic so we can serve children better during these uncertain times. To do this, Kids’ Voice of Indiana teamed up with Child Advocates, and went straight to source to get some answers and insight. Our first set of interviews is with two school-aged children, Lily (age 14) and Max (age 8). Read below to learn more about how these children themselves are reacting to and coping with the COVID-19 pandemic.

How are you doing right now? What does an average day look like?

Lily: I’m doing decent. I’m very bored and wish I could be back in school. My school is supposed to start this month. Normally I’d be mad about starting so early, but I haven’t been to school since March 13th, so I’m looking forward to it. E-learning was horrible. I never want to do that again. I learned a lot more in live school than online.

Max: I usually have a good day. I get to go outside and learn a bunch. I get to be on my electronics. I do educational apps at the beginning of the day, and at the end is my favorite part, because then I get to do fun stuff.

What are you seeing during COVID times that you did not see before?

Lily: Everyone has to wear a mask and it makes me mad when people decide not to wear them. I’m glad to have a cell phone so I can stay in touch with friends and play games.

Max: Lots of things are different. We have to do e-learning now. We have to stay six feet apart from people and we have to wear masks in a lot of places. We don’t get to see our friends as much and we always have to stay in our house at all times unless you have to go out.

What are your biggest concerns right now for children?

Lily: My biggest concern regarding me and other kids is that whenever we go back to school it will be weird. I’m worried that school will be closed again, and I’ll have to spend another semester doing e-learning.

Max: My worries are transitioning back to school because I think it’s going to be really hard. I’m worried I am just going to do e-learning, and I am nervous because I am used to the e-learning we had already started with my mom helping me. We got a good deal going on it. What makes me happy right now my dad teasing me and playing with my little brother because he’s a stinker sometimes.

QUESTION 4:  What could (schools, attorneys/courts, doc offices, etc.) do differently if we ever see a situation like this again?

Lily: We could put cleaning and other precautions in place earlier so school doesn’t have to be online.

Max: Grownups should not get so frustrated at e-learning, and wear a mask everywhere we go, and not go many places. Don’t get frustrated with doing e-learning, and don’t get tired of wearing masks. I don’t want adults to get tired of wearing masks or get frustrated because they’re frustrating for me… some people don’t, but we are trying for the virus to not spread and people aren’t listening.