Local schools are out for summer, an end to what was undoubtedly a hard year for students, teachers and parents.
In Lubbock, schools switched to distance learning right after spring break, when the coronavirus pandemic forced cautionary closures of all parts of the state.
The Holt Family had to adjust.
“So I’ve been, I don’t want to say really strict, but I’ve been pretty strict. Strict about their diet, strict about our schedule. I try to maintain a clean household and homecooked meals," said Lucinda Holt. "So with all of this going on, everything was on hold. I found myself focusing on balancing my work and their’s. It was almost like anything goes.”
Mom Lucinda teaches in the College of Media & Communication at Texas Tech University. While she was working to move her in-person courses online, she also had to help sons Jude and Max navigate at-home learning.
“It almost felt like I was their personal assistant," she joked. "I would run around, telling them you have a meeting at this time, a meeting at this time. You need to be showered, ready to go. Brush your teeth. Get your work done. You need to get this assignment in and this email out. While at the same time balancing my stuff.”
Jude and Max are students at Legacy Elementary School in Frenship ISD. Jude is moving on to middle school in the fall. Some of his friends are going to a different school, and that’s a bummer. But he said band, athletics and art classes will be cool. There's not much about elementary school he'll miss.
“Yeah, it’s going to be really, really fun," Jude said. "At least that’s what I think.”
Ending elementary school at home was unexpected, but Jude says he liked it. His mom said the fewer distractions at home was good for him. His grades and behavior improved.
Little brother Max finished up the fourth grade. Elementary students used a mix of instructional packets and digital learning tools.
“Can’t say I like it, but it’s OK," Max said. "It’s mostly on worksheets and that’s what gets me mad.”
Max said he’ll miss having his brother on the same campus as him, but it’s kind of nice that Jude can scope out middle school first.
Learning continued through social distancing, and so did friendships. Jude and Max talk with their friends on the phone and through video games. They like Minecraft and Fortnight.
“Like, it’s just our normal conversation without adults yelling at us,” Jude said.
Jude also had a Zoom movie party. They watched Avengers Infinity Wars.
“That’s what I like the most," Jude said. "You can take video games away from me, fine I’m not going to be too happy about it, but sure. But Zoom parties are my favorite."
He said he likes to see his friends faces and know they’re OK. He described his close group of friends as more like brothers.
The boys hope to see their friends in-person soon, but for now, they’re happy for summer break. They sometimes pretend to be in a classroom, seated six feet apart. Practicing for what school could look like in the fall.
“It’s been very challenging, but I’m sure it’s been a lot harder for others," Lucinda said. "We’re pretty blessed.”