Why I Chose to Go Back to School in Person

My school gave students a choice of how they want to go back to school: virtually or in person. After considering what made sense for my CF, learning style, and mental health, I decided to attend school in person.

| 5 min read
Caroline Kent

For the 2020-2021 school year, my school district debated how to hold classes. They decided to give students the choice of whether to do virtual or in-person learning. Having cystic fibrosis complicated making my decision but I decided to choose to go to school in person. Here's why: 

Virtual learning was not for me

After my school closed when COVID-19 started, the school district came out with a virtual learning plan that was optional for students.

The first week of virtual learning, I decided to try it out. However, I quickly learned that learning virtually didn't work for me. It was very hard for me to focus and complete any work.

Since virtual learning was optional, I decided to stop doing it. But this year, if I decided to do virtual learning, I'd be required to do all of my school work and it would be graded. I don't want learning online to affect my grades and mental health. 

I want to enjoy my high school experience

I still want to enjoy high school, despite being in a pandemic. Since I am just starting my sophomore year, I don't want to miss out on the high school experience, if I can avoid it. I want to see my friends again, since I haven't seen them since school closed in March. It's been really hard not seeing them for so many months, and it has affected my mental health. The social aspect of the high school experience is one I don't want to miss. It's important for me to enjoy my time in high school as much as possible since my life expectancy is about 40 years old. With that in the back of my mind, I don't want to experience part of my high school experience virtually. 

I miss being in band class

Band is my favorite class -- I love it so much. I'm also a member of the marching band and I want to get back into marching and playing music. Music is so important to me. Being able to play the clarinet in the band with my friends was one of the parts of freshman year I enjoyed so much. Since my school's marching band is relatively small, I feel like I need to be there for my section and my band.


My school is taking precautions

My school district recently decided to require masks for all students, teachers, and staff. This mandate made me feel more relieved about going back to school. The school district is also providing schools with extra cleaning supplies.

Because of my CF, I was hesitant about going back to school, however, I was able to work with my care team to make sure that it was safe for me. My care team helped me weigh my options and gave me the information I needed to make the best decision.

My parents and I also discussed the pros and cons and decided that in-person school would be the best option for me. By knowing the risks about going back to school and about the multiple precautions my school is taking, I feel much better about attending school in person this year.

Attending a public high school has definitely been a challenge during the COVID-19 pandemic. However, I think for me it is a more effective way to learn. It was not an easy decision for me to make, given I am more at risk for getting a severe case of COVID-19. Therefore, I will continue to wear my mask and sanitize often.

Having CF has always been a struggle, but it has also made me stronger and I am up for the challenge of going back to school in person. I recently started the school year and it has taken some getting used to. I have to wear my mask constantly and sanitize often. I don't regret my decision to go to school in person, as it has so far been easier than virtual learning. I have also been given lots of homework, so I have been more stressed. However, I am so thankful that in-person school is going so well for me.

Interested in sharing your story? The CF Community Blog wants to hear from you.

This site contains general information about cystic fibrosis, as well as personal insight from the CF community. Opinions and experiences shared by members of our community, including but not limited to people with CF and their families, belong solely to the blog post author and do not represent those of the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, unless explicitly stated. In addition, the site is not intended as a substitute for treatment advice from a medical professional. Consult your doctor before making any changes to your treatment.

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Caroline was diagnosed with cystic fibrosis at 4 months old. She lives in Nashville with her parents. She plays clarinet in her school's marching band and also plays guitar. Caroline has participated in several Great Strides walks and fundraisers. She has also worked with her CF care team at Vanderbilt Children's Hospital for multiple drug trials with the Foundation. Follow her Instagram.

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