Jackie Van Gilder-Nellis

Jackie Van Gilder-Nellis, 10, poses in her back to school threads before heading to her first day as a fifth grader at Rick Marcotte Central School.

Jackie Van Gilder-Nellis, 10, Grade 5, Rick Marcotte Central School

TOP (The Other Paper): How did the first day go? How are you feeling?

Van Gilder-Nellis: I’m feeling pretty good. But still kind of tired. It was still fun though.

TOP: What was it like when you got there? What was different?

Van Gilder-Nellis: There were moose tracks on the sidewalk now. They were six feet apart and you had to stand on the moose tracks and get into the building. My science teacher showed me into my classroom. Ms. Cooper was nice, and we ate lunch and snack in the classroom. For our creative arts, I’m going to have four weeks of library and then I will change my creative arts. For P.E. we’re going to have that outside. For recess there are four sections: A, B, C and D. I was put in section B, with the big playground and the basketball court. We’re not allowed to go into the other sections. We can talk to the people that are in the other sections, but we can’t play with them or go in their section.

TOP: What did you do during recess?

Van Gilder-Nellis: I just swung on the swingy-thing. It’s like a thing that goes swingy.

TOP: Was anything different inside the classroom?

Van Gilder-Nellis: No, not really. There were like dividers that divided you from your other classmates. They were like four pieces of cardboard with clear plastic put into them so you could see the other person, but you couldn’t have contact. Each table only had two people sitting at it. During lunch we couldn’t change spots, so we just stayed in one spot and talked to the person who was at our table. At the end of the day we had to clean our table spots and our chairs with like baby wipes. There were rectangles of tape on the ground and there was only one person allowed in the rectangle for putting their stuff away in their cubby and backpack.

TOP: What was it like wearing a mask all day?

Van Gilder-Nellis: My ears hurt. That was pretty much the only thing.

TOP: Did you do any outside learning today?

Van Gilder-Nellis: We didn’t do any outside learning, but we did do an outdoor activity. We walked around the building a couple of times to get our energy out.

TOP: What was your favorite part of the day?

Van Gilder-Nellis: Reading. I read about a Pegasus. We didn’t do any math. We did a math game though; it was called Skunk.

TOP: How many classmates did you have and how were they, did you know them?

Van Gilder-Nellis: I had eight classmates. There was one new kid, she’s really sweet though.

TOP: What are your thoughts about this year?

Van Gilder-Nellis: A bit scared. I’m excited about learning new things. I want to go to school, but I don’t want to do school. But I also don’t want to do online.

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