A 9-year-old girl’s reaction to learning she would be going back to school in person after participating in e-learning for the past 358 days left many, including herself, misty-eyed.
When Tarine Zanotto revealed to her daughter, Clara Zanotto, a fourth-grade student of Redondo Beach School District in Redondo Beach, California, that she’d be heading to the classroom again starting March 3 — Clara broke down.
“Usually her reaction is screaming and jumping and she had the opposite,” Zanotto told “Good Morning America.” “She had the very emotional, deep cry.”
Like many others, Clara’s school had closed its doors mid-March of 2020. At the time, Clara was in third-grade.
Zanotto said that at first, she and her husband Mauricio would help Clara navigate recorded lessons, but once she had a live teacher over Zoom — Clara was able to learn on her own.
“She was staying positive,” Zanotto said. “She was anxious at the beginning like most of us were in the beginning. She learned techniques to cope with her anxiety … we went through therapy.”
The American Academy of Pediatrics continues to promote students physically attending school and supports schools closely following guidance provided by public health officials.
“Children absolutely need to return to in-school learning for their healthy development and well-being, and so safety in schools and in the community must be a priority,” said Dr. Lee Beers, a fellow and president of the AAP.
“We know that some children are really suffering without the support of in-person classroom experiences or adequate technology at home. We need governments at the state and federal levels to prioritize funding the needed safety accommodations, such as improving ventilation systems and providing personal protective equipment for teachers and staff.”
“Once she gets the letter grades she will be a straight-A student and is mastering her quizzes and get them almost 100%,” Zanotto said.
But despite the difficulties of online learning — Clara has done well in school over the last year and Zanotto said she has confidence her daughter’s grades will be high.
“She was able to do a lot by herself,” Zanotto added. “We count on how she really loves school. That helps a lot.”
Zanotto said the Twitter account Reopen California Schools, along with multiple news sites shared the video of Clara’s reaction to learning she was returning to school.
“It’s spreading the love and it was so cheerful to see the school alive last week,” Zanotto said.
“The sound of the little backpacks rolling and [the] kids giggling — that’s everything.”
With a background in the creative and educational fields, Amelia Finefrock is freelance writer, singer-songwriter and nanny based in Chicago.
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