WFISD students share concern about upcoming first day as pandemic looms over school year

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WICHITA FALLS (KFDX/KJTL) — The usual back to school jitters are probably more intense than normal this year for students thanks to COVID-19, and two Wichita Falls Independent School District students share how they feel as they embark on a new normal this school year.

“I knew from the start that if I had the option, I was going to try and go back as long as I felt comfortable with how they were doing things,” Rider High School junior Emily Collins said.

Collins is cautious, but ready to head back to the classroom in-person to start her junior year.

“I’ve read over a few things they are going to be enforcing and it just seems like we’re going to a whole lot of new information and new ways of doing things that it’s going to take quite a while to get adjusted to. So I’m kind of going into it with the mindset that it’s going to be overwhelming at first.”

Collins said she did have concerns, but ultimately the school district’s mandatory mask policy sealed the deal for her.

“I have asthma so I’m more susceptible so that was kind of a big one on my list,” Collins said.

Since Collins is in high school band, she’s already seen the safety measures taking place in hopes of keeping teachers and students safe.

“I play the flute, which require air to go across my intrument, so we have to wear the clear face shields when we play, so we’re not spraying air everywhere,” Collins said.

At last check, 63% of WFISD students are physically returning to classes and 37% selected the remote option.

McNiel Middle School seventh grader Khloë Miller-Harris is one of those who will be starting her first day at school at home, but she said she knows she’s doing it for the right reasons.

“I’m pretty nervous because we’re doing online school instead of going to actual school, so it’s not really going to be the same,” Miller–Harris said. “We decided to do online school because my little brother. He can’t get sick because it could like really affect his lungs and everything, so we decided it would be safer to do online school for a while until the coronavirus starts to get better I guess.”

Since the WFISD continued online instruction last school year, Miller–Harris said she feels prepared for learning online, but she admits there is one thing she will miss.

“Some of my friends are doing online school, but a lot of them are actually going to school, so it’s kind of hard not to see a lot of my friends,” Miller–Harris said.

Even though Harris–Miller and Collins may be a different stages in their education, both agree they are excited to see teachers, face to face or through a screen, and return to some since of normalcy when the first class starts Thursday morning.

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