The Chaotic Mess of Back-to-School Season, According to High Schoolers

We were like cats in the air for a while’

Izzie Ramirez
GEN
Published in
6 min readAug 26, 2020

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Photo illustration. Source: Kent Nishimura/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

School shouldn’t be a life-and-death situation, but it undeniably is right now. As the back-to-school season begins and with no consistent protocols laid out by state and federal governments, schools across the country are deciding whether to continue remote learning, pivot back to in-person classes, or feature some combination of the two.

GEN spoke with four high schoolers about going back to school in the middle of a practically unmitigated pandemic. Their anxieties were twofold: They’re worried about losing out on education opportunities and the typical high school experience.

Nikita, 16, a junior in Milton, Georgia

I go to public school and we were like cats in the air for a while; we were under the impression we would go back to school full-on. But then in July, they decided to switch to completely online. Since then, we’ve been using Microsoft Teams to connect with teachers. We still follow a semi-regular schedule. But I know that other Georgia schools and different counties are doing hybrid days; some are even completely open.

It is weird that the whole state isn’t uniform and there’s a whole problem with the mask requirements. I don’t think schools in Georgia can technically require it because of the way the governor has been regulating it. I know a lot of people in different counties where people will still come into school even if they’re suspected of having a fever and things like that. I just wish everything was kind of on the same page so everybody felt safe. But that’s not the case.

I am somebody who really enjoys going to school, but it doesn’t seem like anybody’s interested in meeting in-person for extracurriculars. And to be honest, I’m not either. I’m a junior, so this is kind of like a stressful year as it is. I know a lot of other juniors are all piling on the AP classes and SATs this year and we’re trying to think about college, but that’s kind of been derailed. I’m very worried that we won’t be able to move along as far as we normally are able to. If anything, I think the classes are easier right now because teachers are still adjusting. Definitely still feels…

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Izzie Ramirez
GEN
Writer for

Writing about climate, culture & comida wherever I go. Work in: GEN, Bitch Media, VICE, Jezebel, and then some. Medium’s resident Gen Z kid.