Academic Anxiety for the 2020-2021 School Year


GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. – School District 51’s 2019-2020 school year was met with unique challenges to say the least, but now the concern is largely focused on the plan for the 2020-2021 academic calendar.

Many parents and students have concerns about the amount of virtual learning that’ll be taking place and whether high-risk sports will be able to resume.

“Honestly my first concern is sports, just because that’s what matters to him the most and that’s how I get him to go to school and get good grades,” said Kerry Hicks, whose son is an upcoming senior, basketball player and football player at Palisade High School.

“It’s very difficult to make him fully participate at school when he’s not worried about eligibility,” said Hicks.

In terms of COVID-19, Hicks said both basketball and football are considered high-risk sports.

“It’s something that he cares deeply about and he’s been working out about three hours a day, just getting ready for that and it just would be utter devastation if he couldn’t,” said Hicks.

“Gracie loves school, she loves her friends, she loves her teachers,” said Trinity Smith, whose daughter Gracie is going to be in second grade for the upcoming school year.

According to Smith, Gracie has struggled with virtual schooling.

“For her, not being able to go [to school] was like punishment,” said Smith.

And both parents say overall learning has been impacted.

“He got good grades but as far as the learning goes, I don’t think that he really got much,” said Hicks.

“Having about 40 minutes to an hour every day of schoolwork and that was it, it became a problem for her because she got bored very quickly,” said Smith.

According to Smith, the teachers at Rocky Mountain Elementary School are very aware of each student’s capabilities in the classroom, more so than the parents.

“Where did they leave off? I have no idea, so I can’t, you know, her teacher is quite aware that this is great but she knows she’s capable of doing more,” said Smith.

According to Hicks, she’d like to see the kids play, even if that means teachers and coaches might have to step back.

“If they can’t participate I’d like to see them still get paid, I don’t want anybody to do some thing that they’re not comfortable with, that they don’t feel safe with, but I feel like these kids can participate full stop,” said Hicks.

And hopefully, return to the classroom.

“She knows that screen time isn’t the only way to learn and it’s not as effective as people think that it is,” said Smith.

For the latest updates from School District 51, visit its website.

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