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Local students on how they're handling going back to school during a pandemic

From staying busy and active to having important conversations with their parents, three students talk about what it's been like getting ready for school.

MINNEAPOLIS, Minn — We've heard from the health experts, school districts, teachers and parents but we haven't heard much from students when it comes to the upcoming fall semester.

KARE 11's Alicia Lewis caught up with three students from various high schools around the metro to see how they're handling back-to-school during a pandemic.

Some of the biggest challenges for these students is the unknown of what the year will look like and how distance learning will work for their families. 

"It's my mom, my sister and I. And we are expected to be on Zoom meetings pretty much all day," said Emma Boockmeier, a student at Holy Family Catholic High School. "It was very difficult to stagger those calls around our class schedule."

RELATED: How will distance learning be different this fall?

For Lauren McCutcheon, who attends Lakeville North High School, it's been tough not being able to say goodbye to her friends leaving for college.

"I think the hardest thing lately is that I haven't been able to hug them goodbye, so that kinds sucks," she said.

These three students say the past five months have taken a toll on everyone. When it comes to her mental health, Anika Lange, a student at Eden Prairie High School, says she's been staying active outdoors.

"Being able to play softball has been such a blessing, just because you get to go outside. So it is somewhat of a safer environment and just being able to do somewhat normal things when everything else is so different," said Anika. "It has been really helpful not only to keep my mental self sane but also to keep physically in shape."

Lauren has been busy helping with the neighbors, keeping their kids active and teaching them how to fly kites. Emma's been focusing on staying positive. "Being grateful is all we can do because something can change in a moment" 

When it comes to their parents, these three know they worry. "I have to tell my mom to calm down," said Lauren. "We pretty much worry about the same things so if I get worked up, she understands. If my dad or mom get worked up, I understand."

RELATED: Parent panel discusses the new school year

Emma said sometimes parents worry just to worry. "I just remind my mom I made it this far. I'm going to keep going and I need to tell her calm down. It's okay."

Anika said her parents have been good about having conversations about what's going on with not only the pandemic, but with how it relates to school and her classmates.

The biggest takeaway from these three students is that they too have a voice and opinions about going back to school during a pandemic.

"There are young people out there that care and are listening and are watching and researching and are doing their best to stay safe and aren't going to be dumb about this,"' said Lauren. "We are doing our best to stay smart, stay active, to keep our lives going and world going."

RELATED: Teachers answer parents questions about the upcoming year

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