Parents call first day of school photos ‘a piece of normalcy’ as students wear masks and attend online class

A kindergartener gets ready for her first day of school where masks are mandatory. (Photo: Twitter)
A kindergartener gets ready for her first day of school where masks are mandatory. (Photo: Twitter)

Going back-to-school looks a lot different this year as schools across the country are opting for online learning, socially distanced classrooms or a combination of the two in response to concerns about the spread of the coronavirus. But parents, students and teachers everywhere are still dedicated to documenting the first day of school to keep up with the tradition, despite featuring masks or screenshots of virtual classrooms.

“It was still important to take the first day pictures because the first day of a new grade still is a landmark on a child’s life,” Veronica Perri, the mother of a high school junior and fifth-grader whose schools have both gone online-only, tells Yahoo Life. “It is the beginning of something new with a promise of learning something new every day, fun, and being engaged with our community of students and teachers.”

Perri took photos of her son and daughter on their first days back, which were shared to Twitter on Tuesday. Unlike most first-day photos, which traditionally have captured a student in front of the house with a backpack on and ready to head to school, both of her kids are posed in front of their laptops with notebooks on hand before virtual class begins. Although it looks different, Perri emphasizes that the milestone remains the same.

“They did actually go back to school. Online school is not pretending school. They are learning. They are engaged. They are in fellowship with their fellow students; regardless of the fact that it is all happening online,” she says. “We are definitely living in an awkward, unprecedented time. But, we as parents and teaches can definitely make it less stressful for them if we show them that this is temporary! That it still can be fun.”

In this thinking, she isn’t alone. Amanda Smythers, the mother to a kindergartener, echoes similar sentiments while telling Yahoo Life just how important it was to capture the quintessential first day of school photo for her daughter — especially because it was her first day of school outside of pre-K.

“For us, taking a back to school photo was a piece of normalcy — and for us, a first as this was her first year of ‘real’ school,” Smythers explains. “Throughout quarantine, we were kind of holding our breath, hoping this would all blow over quickly. Now that we see that we will likely be living within the constraints of the pandemic long term, we are trying to actively create a new normal rather than waiting for the time where we can go back to our old routines.”

She explains that her daughter is attending a private school that is conducting classes on-site with a mandatory mask policy for students, teachers and staff. Although it is not the “normal” that most are used to, she hopes that all that she’s documented during this time will be something that she and her daughter can look back on to remember that life didn’t completely stop.

“I wanted a way to remember exactly what we did in quarantine as I think my daughter will eventually have questions, and I wanted to connect with my friends and family to let them know we are in this together,” Smythers says. “I think my daughter will look back on this as a big vacation.”

Other parents and students have taken to social media to share what back-to-school looks like for them this year, each with different at-home setups.

Even teachers have taken part in sharing their own perspectives as they prepare to teach online, with screenshots of their new virtual classes. Some have also shown empty classrooms where they’ll be teaching from, despite students all working from home.

For the latest coronavirus news and updates, follow along at According to experts, people over 60 and those who are immunocompromised continue to be the most at risk. If you have questions, please reference the CDC’s and WHO’s resource guides.

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