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Emma Walker-Dubé, Saint-Lambert, Que.

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“I’m going into my first year of CEGEP, the equivalent of Grade 12 in other provinces. At my CEGEP, everything is online. Having it all online is a bit disheartening, and it won’t be at all what I had expected, but I’m very excited to start learning new things and meeting new people (on Zoom, but still)!” – Emma, 17

Rosie, Norah and Maya Sachedina, Calgary

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“I’m kind of just worried about going back after being in quarantine. It’s weird because I don’t remember what it’s like to be back in a classroom, but I do miss my friends. It’s really hard to see them only online and I think my cat and my dog were getting bored of playing with me. I don’t mind that we have to wear masks. I think masks are comfy.” – Rosie, 7

“I’m very happy we get to go back to school because I get to see my friends, I’m not nervous about COVID at all. We’ll have new kids from the French immersion program coming to our school, so I’ll get to make new friends. And we get lockers in Grade 5. I guess the only reason I’m nervous about COVID is that maybe it will make the school shut down. Honestly, I can’t wait until we can say, ‘Remember 2020?’” – Norah, 9

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“I’m a bit nervous, because school wasn’t that clean before COVID so I’m not sure they’ll be able to clean it as much as maybe they need to, and in junior high, the hallways get really crowded between classes. People are always packed shoulder to shoulder. I was okay with school being closed for a little bit, but then I started to miss it. This year I’m really looking forward to my robotics and my outdoor education class.” – Maya, 11

Simple to make, simple to pack lunch ideas for kids heading back to school

Noah and Seamus Matthews, Montreal

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“I don’t want to get COVID, and if someone gets sick, we have to lock down all of the school for a week or so, and I don’t really appreciate that. Honestly, I was actually happy with ending school last year. Online school was okay. It was kind of boring doing it in the house because it’s not as fun, I can say that.” – Noah, 10

“I don’t think we’ll be at school for much longer than a month. I would really like to see my friends and get back into a schedule and do regular work, but at the same time, I know that it’s a terrible idea to reopen schools. As much as there are kids who respect the rules, there’s going to be a batch of kids who don’t care and who will ruin it for everyone else, putting everyone else in danger.” – Seamus, 14

Parenting SOS: How can I help my children feel less anxious about going back to school?

Hayden and Damian Shoan, Mississauga, Ont.

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“I’m actually quite nervous. I’m not sure how they’re going to be able to control a few hundred kids. I’m not sure how teachers will make sure they follow all COVID-19 protocols. I know we’re going to have to wear masks in class and follow social-distancing and probably use hand sanitizer after every class. I’m most excited to see my friends again – I haven’t seen some of them in months. I’m also just excited to learn in a class again.” – Hayden, 12

“I have mixed emotions because COVID is still happening, so if one person has COVID, it can spread really easily. But I want to go back to school to have more interaction with my teachers and my friends. I sometimes go to shops with my mom, and I only keep my mask on for 15 minutes, but it’s still uncomfortable. So if you have to keep it on for the day, I think it’ll be really uncomfortable. That’s a downside.” – Damian, 10

Canada’s back-to-school plans: The latest news, and resources on COVID-19 and your kids

Liam and Kingston Mair, Calgary

“I haven’t been to the school in a long time, and I really missed my friends. But I think it’s going to be pretty much normal this year, except you have to wear masks everywhere you go. I’m really looking forward to playing toilet tag at recess. I think to be good at school for the first time, Liam needs to not yell in class, not ignore the teacher, work really hard, and don’t do his math wrong.” – Kingston, 6

“I’m nervous about going to a school with kids I don’t know. I want to do online classes because Kingston got to do online classes, and I never get to go online. But actually, I think I’d rather just have a trillion summers, because I can ride my bike all day. In pre-school I made so many crafts they wouldn’t even fit in my craft book, so I’m looking forward to doing more crafts.” – Liam, 4

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Health experts pick back-to-school essentials for the COVID-19 era

Maddie and Charlotte Adams, Toronto

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“I feel nervous. I’m scared of what’s going to happen. When school went online, I was happy because I didn’t have to do anything my teacher said and I got to be home all day with Mummy. I’m excited to see my friends. I like French and math.” – Maddie, 7

The countdown is on for a return to classrooms. Here’s how to get your kids back into routines

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“I’m excited because I want to go to school and learn and see my friends. I haven’t seen my friends at all this summer. I’m really excited because I’m going to be in a class with Grade 3s. I’ve always been in split classes as the younger one, and now I get to be the older one.” – Charlotte, 9

Logan Lam, Vancouver

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“I’m excited! I’m most excited about learning, especially math. School last year was online. I missed going to school. I mostly missed playing. I didn’t get to see my friends this summer. Wearing a mask feels okay – I have a Mario mask.” – Logan, 6

With files from Claire Porter Robbins.

Globe health columnist André Picard and senior editor Nicole MacIntyre discuss the many issues surrounding sending kids back to school. André says moving forward isn't about there being no COVID-19 cases, but limiting their number and severity through distancing, smaller classes, masks and good hygiene. The Globe and Mail

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