Perspectives: 10 National Kids Share How They Feel About Next School Year

kids faces in bubbles

Verywell / Christian Alzate

For our Perspectives series, we are interviewing diverse kids from around the country on how they feel about the upcoming 2021-2022 school year.

After a year of virtual instruction, hybrid schedules, and restricted in-person school experiences, students across the country are looking forward to a fresh start this fall. Although they’ve become accustomed to learning with a myriad of COVID safety precautions in place, everyone is ready for fewer restrictions, more in-person socialization with their friends, and to leave behind Microsoft Teams and Zoom classrooms.

Kids have high hopes that they will once again enjoy a full curriculum and the regular variety of activities that usually take place. We asked 10 kids from different parts of the country to tell us how they feel about returning to school in the 2021-2022 school year.

Annabel Li Seidler

girl in front of pool

Verywell / Christian Alzate

Annabel Li Seidler

  • Age: 8
  • Location: New York, NY
  • 2020-2021 School Year: Began virtually, then switched to hybrid following local guidelines, with some days virtual and some days in-person
  • 2021-2022 Plan for the School Year: In-person

How Do You Think School Will Be Different in the 2021–2022 School Year?

We might not have to wear our masks as much or anymore. We might learn more things and be able to do more stuff like science experiments or play instruments.

How Do You Feel About Next School Year? What Are You Looking Forward To?

I'm looking forward to meeting new people including my new teachers. I want to go into the school building and be in the different classrooms again like the art room, gym, and dance studio.

What Are You Doing This Summer To Prepare for the Upcoming School Year?

Clothes shopping because I can't wear pajamas in school!

Trey Crawford

boy holding ice cream

Verywell / Christian Alzate

Trey Crawford

  • Age: 15
  • Location: Atlanta, GA
  • 2020-2021 School Year: Began virtually until March, then in-person from March to the end of the school year
  • 2021-2022 Plan for the School Year: In-person


How Do You Think School Will Be Different in the 2021–2022 School Year?

I think school will probably be slightly stricter next year. This year, because of COVID, teachers gave less work and they had lower expectations. And due to the struggles of online school and technical difficulties on both the student’s end and the teacher’s end, attendance was more lax.

The 2021-2022 school year won’t be hard per se, but it will be harder, and it might push students slightly out of their comfort zones, especially as they readjust to a normal school year.

How Do You Feel About Next School Year? What Are You Looking Forward To?

I am going into this school year the same way I went into the last school year: having no expectations whatsoever and playing with whatever hand life deals me. I’m slightly nervous, but much less nervous than last year, and I’m more prepared to tackle American public school. I’m definitely most looking forward to cross-country and track and field.

What Are You Doing This Summer To Prepare for the  Upcoming School Year?

This summer I’m mainly working on personal projects, not necessarily anything that would benefit my grades. I’m going to be doing some reading and writing, a fair amount of running, and a little bit of tinkering with APIs and Python.

Audrey Wu

girl in nature

Verywell / Christian Alzate

Audrey Wu

  • Age: 16
  • Location: Bloomington, IN
  • 2020-2021 School Year: Began virtually, then switched to in-person in the Spring
  • 2021-2022 Plan for the School Year: In-person

How Do You Think School Will Be Different in the 2021–2022 School Year?

I think the school year will differ in the way students interact with each other. Because the 2020-2021 school year restricted a lot of socialization, many students were not allowed to be physically at school. This left the school feeling a bit empty and lacking in energy. However, with more students physically at school, I think the atmosphere will change. 

How Do You Feel About Next School Year? What Are You Looking Forward To?

I’m looking forward to next year because I’m excited to see some friends I haven’t seen in a while. I’m especially looking forward to hanging out with one of my closest friends, Hannah, who I haven’t seen in over a year. However, because I’m approaching my junior year, I know that I will need to be responsible and diligent with how I manage my time, as junior year is said to be the hardest year of high school. 

What Are You Doing This Summer To Prepare for the  Upcoming School Year?

This summer, I’m expected to make at least 500 flashcards for my anatomy class, so that should take me a while. I’m also completing my summer reading for my AP Lang class. Most of all, I’m just trying to relax and be ready to embrace the challenges I know the upcoming school year will bring. 

Landon Wehner

boy in front of brick wall

Verywell / Christian Alzate

Landon Wehner

  • Age: 9
  • Location: Aurora, CO
  • 2020-2021 School Year: Began virtually, then switched to in-person
  • 2021-2022 Plan for the School Year: In-person

How Do You Think School Will Be Different in the 2021–2022 School Year?

I think we won’t have to wear a mask or social distance like we did this year. I hope we can play tag and other games again, and be able to hang with friends more often.

How Do You Feel About Next School Year? What Are You Looking Forward To?

I feel very anxious about what will happen, like if we will have to go back to virtual learning or have to wear masks again. I am looking forward to finding out who my new teacher will be and who my classmates are next year. Really, just being in fifth grade! 

What Are You Doing This Summer To Prepare for the  Upcoming School Year?

This summer I am preparing for fifth grade by practicing math and reading orange [level] and higher level books. Also, I am doing sports for PE and I will have a lot of fun this summer at camp. We are even going camping!

Gianna Deleon

girl in hoodie with glasses on

Verywell / Christian Alzate

Gianna Deleon

  • Age: 13
  • Location: Kirkland, WA
  • 2020-2021 School Year: Began virtually until March, then in-person for the rest of the school year
  • 2021-2022 Plan for the School Year: In-person

How Do You Think School Will Be Different in the 2021–2022 School Year?

I feel hopeful about next school year. Next year, things could be better. Next year, more people will be vaccinated. Next year, teachers and students will both be safer around each other. Next year, we could finally break out of our small little bubbles and feel comfortable talking with one another. Heck, maybe we’ll be able to sit closer to our friends so we can talk without saying “WHAT DID YOU SAY??” all the time.

There are still things we'll probably be keeping the same, school-wise: maintaining our current safety protocols, such as wiping down our areas after we’ve used them, as well as tools and equipment. It can be a little tough sometimes, especially when we’re already late for class, but as long as it keeps the next person after me safe, I’ll do it. 

How Do You Feel About Next School Year? What Are You Looking Forward To?

I’m looking forward to being relaxed while talking to more people. But, I suppose that only comes with time and practice. No matter what, I remind myself that there’s always going to be a silver lining to every gray cloud, even if it can be unexpected at times. But I will always be certain to enjoy those silvery moments since you never know when things may change.

What Are You Doing This Summer To Prepare for the  Upcoming School Year?

To prepare for everything next year academically, I’m probably going to have to do a bit of studying over summer so my brain isn’t too melted by the time autumn rolls around.

Ryan H.

boy smiling

Verywell / Christian Alzate

Ryan H.

  • Age: 10
  • Location: San Jose, CA
  • 2020-2021 School Year: Began virtually until April, then switched to in-person for the rest of the school year
  • 2021-2022 Plan for the School Year: In-person

How Do You Think School Will Be Different in the 2021–2022 School Year?

It will be mostly in person. Still wearing masks. But at least all my friends will be back in person. I didn't get to hang out with all my friends. 

How Do You Feel About Next School Year? What Are You Looking Forward To?

I feel good about it. It will be my last year in Elementary school. I'm looking forward to Science Camp since I missed going on all the field trips in third and fourth grade. 

What Are You Doing This Summer To Prepare for the  Upcoming School Year?

I'm going to have my dad print me fifth-grade math worksheets so I can get a head start on the year and ride my bike for fun. 

Valerie McAlinden

girl with red curly hair in front of tree

Verywell / Christian Alzate

Valerie McAlinden

  • Age: 8
  • Location: Miami, FL
  • 2020-2021 School Year: Virtual the whole year
  • 2021-2022 Plan for the School Year: In-person

How Do You Think School Will Be Different in the 2021–2022 School Year?

I think we’ll be in person instead of virtual, so we’ll be able to actually see the teachers and our friends. We were able to see them on Zoom this year, but next year we’ll be able to see them in real life. I think I’ll have to get up earlier since I will actually have to go to school instead of staying at home.  

How Do You Feel About Next School Year? What Are You Looking Forward To?

I’m excited because I want to be with my friends. We’ll be able to actually DO things. We did a lot of things this year too, but it was all virtual. Like we planted flower seeds during science class on Zoom, but everyone did it on their own at home. At least we were able to see everyone planting their seeds on the computer, but next year, we can do stuff like that together. 

What Are You Doing This Summer To Prepare for the Upcoming School Year?

We’re going to buy school supplies and uniforms. I’ll do my summer reading project like every other year. Oh! And I’m going to practice long division. We already started learning how to do long division, so I’m going to keep practicing so that I’ll be ready for fourth grade.

Emeka Ndefo

boy in house

Verywell / Christian Alzate

Emeka Ndefo

  • Age: 9
  • Location: Houston, TX
  • 2020-2021 School Year: Began virtually but switched to in-person in October when allowed
  • 2021-2022 Plan for the School Year: In-person

How Do You Think School Will Be Different in the 2021–2022 School Year?

I think there will be less social distancing, less masks, and less of the other safety precautions.

How Do You Feel About Next School Year? What Are You Looking Forward To?

I feel good about the next school year. I’m looking forward to learning new things like long multiplication, long division, and two-digit multiplication. I am also looking forward to having recess go back to normal where we can play with kids from other classes and play on any equipment if we want.

What Are You Doing This Summer To Prepare for the  Upcoming School Year?

My mom signs me up for summer camps so I keep getting smarter and smarter. So when the next school year starts, I'm ready for it!

Gaby Chu

girl next to plants

Verywell / Christian Alzate

Gaby Chu

  • Age: 16
  • Location: Chandler, AZ
  • 2020-2021 School Year: Began virtually then switched to in-person for second half
  • 2021-2022 Plan for the School Year: In-person

How Do You Think School Will Be Different in the 2021–2022 School Year?

My guess is that school will be closer to the pre-pandemic normalcy but with a few differences for COVID. There will probably still be restrictions on space and cleanliness, but I think school is becoming more lenient as more people get vaccinated. 

My school has offered an in-person option since late October 2020. I returned in-person in January 2021. Strict rules were in place when I returned. We had temperature checks at drop-off, hand sanitizing stations throughout school, and students grouped in cohorts. Our movements within the school are restricted as well. For example, we are only allowed to go to our lockers twice a day at specific times when we used to be allowed to go between classes.

In Arizona, near the end of my school year, the governor lifted the mask mandate, so during the last few weeks of school some kids were already choosing not to wear masks. Overall most of the kids have already been fully vaccinated or have had their first dose so I think the school won’t be as strict in the guidelines and there’s more room for fun activities and socializing. 

How Do You Feel About Next School Year? What Are You Looking Forward To?

I’m excited and nervous about my junior year. To be honest, I still feel like a freshman and it’s weird to me that I haven’t had a full year of standard high school yet. Next year hopefully, the pandemic will be winding down. I look forward to a typical school year, including more activities, such as field trips and the school fair.  

During COVID, my school limited classes to about 24 kids and you are stuck with the same kids for the entire school day except for lunch. This year I’m excited to have more people I can interact with throughout the different classes. 

What Are You Doing This Summer To Prepare for the Upcoming School Year?

Since I went in-person last semester, I already have a good feel of all the procedures and new rules regarding the pandemic. Junior year will probably be back to the full intensity it was before online school, so I’ll need to work on my study habits and SAT prep. I also play tennis in the mornings to help prepare for the school tennis season. 

A big change for me is the community service that I do during the school year. I have been volunteering at a local nursing home since middle school before COVID.  As far as I know, volunteers are not allowed to return to this nursing home for the foreseeable future. 

I looked for new volunteer opportunities early in the summer. I will be working at a city-run tennis center as a volunteer coaching assistant, and I look forward to working with younger and newer players. Outdoor sports were limited but were available during COVID, so I think sports will still continue even if we have another shut-down.

Augustine Rahaim

boy in front of wall

Verywell / Christian Alzate

Augustine Rahaim

  • Age: 13
  • Location: Huntersville, NC
  • 2020-2021 School Year: Began virtually, then the second half of the school year included 6 sporadic weeks of in-person learning based on state recommendations
  • 2021-2022 Plan for the School Year: In-person

How Do You Think School Will Be Different in the 2021–2022 School Year?

I think we will still have to wear masks for a little while, but that the mandate will be lifted eventually and there will be no more virtual school. I think everything else will be the old normal again.

How Do You Feel About Next School Year? What Are You Looking Forward To?

I don't really know how I feel about going back to school but I am looking forward to being with my friends again in the fall.  

What Are You Doing This Summer To Prepare for the Upcoming School Year?

I'm not really preparing for school. I'm focusing on vacation!

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  1. CDC. Guidance for COVID-19 prevention in K-12 schools. Updated July 9, 2021.