VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. - Isolation and learning online has been tough for students throughout the region and across the country.
One Virginia Beach neighborhood is working to try and make things a little more normal for the kids.
At 7:30 a.m., the Leroy brothers are tossing a football around with their friend Jaxon Cizerle in the Great Neck Point Neighborhood.
This would be the scene if the kids were waiting for the school bus on any given morning, but this year there is no school bus because of the pivot to virtual learning.
Mother of Jaxon and Eva, Ashley Cizerle, said that when school was approaching, they realized there would be no first day at the bus stop. She said this was usually a big deal for the kids and the parents.
Parents in the neighborhood decided that even though the bus wasn’t going to come, they would still meet up like it was the first day.
On Tuesday they met up at the bus stop on the first day of school, and met again Friday.
Cizerle said they hope to do it about once a week as the pandemic continues.
“It was good, 'cause we got to see our friends,” said Felix Leroy.
Cizerle said it gives them a sense of normalcy and time to run around with the neighborhood kids.
“Even though we didn’t jump on the bus and take off, they still had this, which makes them feel like it's the first day of school,” Cizerle said.
Elyse Schoenfeld is a seventh-grader and said she doesn’t mind online school, but admits it’s made her appreciate the classroom.
"I miss being able to talk to my friends in between bells. I miss sitting with people in class. I never really enjoyed it, at first, but now I miss it,” Schoenfeld said.
First-grader Eva Cizerle said she likes online school and enjoys her breaks.
“I’d rather go back to school to see my friends but it’s fine. It’s just boring,” said Kinley Bartley, a fourth grader.
“I have friends at school so it’s always better to be at school,” said William Leroy.
“I think it’s just straight up boring all day. Just sit at a desk all day and you don’t get to leave unless it’s lunch break,” said Alyssa Schoenfeld, a fourth grader. “I miss playing with friends and not wearing a coronavirus mask.”
“I’d rather go back to school than online,” said student Jaxon Cizerle.
But they can’t go back, not yet. After hanging out at the bus stop and having some fun, the kids and their parents headed back home to hit the books – and turn on their laptops.
Cizerle praised the work of the teachers and said the online classes are very organized this year.
“I think that everyone's situation is different, and I think everybody’s doing the best they can,” said Cizerle. “Hopefully we can continue to do this every Friday or something to kind of let them know things aren’t totally different.”