Crowds of students and parents lined up outside of Diehl Elementary, Strong Vincent Middle School and Erie High School to experience an open house on Wednesday.
Some of those parents said they want their kids to enjoy being kids, without the worry of COVID-19 coming back.
“I’m a little nervous and excited at the same time, too, because up until now, she’s only been gone for a few hours at a time,” said Miranda Porthouse, whose daughter will start kindergarten at Diehl Elementary School. “So, this is new for both of us.”
Catherine Horvath’s children go to the same school.
“We have five students coming to Diehl,” Horvath said. “So, we are super excited after being in a home all year last year. They are excited and can’t wait for Monday.”
Yet, some parents say they still have high concerns about the upcoming school year.
For Porthouse, there is an entire list of questions: “Are kids going to cooperate? Are they going to keep their masks on? Do people have their vaccinations? Is everyone following regulations? Is everything going to be okay?”
Even though there is a mask mandate for Erie County Schools, it is still a constant worry for these parents.
“I think mental health is dwindling all across the nation,” said Leah Hardner, whose child attends Erie High School. “I think it needs to be addressed, and I think going back to school will help with that.”
For Horvath, she has concerns for her daughter’s asthma.
“That is a big concern for us,” she said, “but we are going to keep her in school this year as much as possible.”
For many students who stayed at home to learn virtually during the pandemic, this is their first time back to in-person classes.
Leslie Ford’s 7th grader at Strong Vincent Middle School spent an entire year in virtual learning.
“It’s a big transition coming from the end of 5th grade into 7th grade,” Ford said.
“We wanted to be safe than sorry, but now, she’s vaccinated, so I feel more comfortable sending her to school.”
Some parents also said they are nervous sending their kids back to school who are not yet eligible to get the vaccine due to their age.
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