What young people are saying about the upcoming school semester: part II

As we discussed in yesterday’s Cassandra Daily (linked here), what to do about the upcoming school year is one of the most fraught discussions many parents—and students—are having right now. We wanted to hear from those most affected: the students themselves. We’ve asked Gen Zs and Millennials from our Cassandra Collective to share their opinions on school safety, online versus in-person learning, and what would help them the most this Fall. The insights below are based on our digital discussions that were held at the beginning of this week.


Youth in the Cassandra Collective want schools to offer a hybrid learning experience: the ability to choose between in-person and online classes based on each student's individual circumstances. Remote learners specifically seek individualized support from teachers to make sure they don’t fall behind in their academics. Mental health is also frequently coming up as another area where students are seeking support.

- “[Schools can best support students this fall by] giving ample amounts of opportunities to get help and clear emails and directions and being able to have more office hours for questions and conferencing.” – Alysia, 16, IA

- “[Schools can best support students this fall] by having activities but still following social distancing rules. [Schools should also] provide mental health support.” – Michelle, 32, NJ

- “I think [schools] can support [students] by giving them online ways of learning as well if the student doesn't feel safe yet in an in-person environment. I think giving courses in a hybrid learning manner (online and in-person) will help a lot.”Kyler, 21, OR

- “[Schools should] definitely allow students to be virtual, [as well as] provide resources for students to [follow] curriculum at home and resources for parents who have to work and need help with childcare.” – Chermaine, 31, GA

- “[Schools should] offer hybrid classes so that kids that need to go to class can, but those that don't have to don't need to go.” – Melissa, 22, FL


Students are voicing a lot of concerns for their health and safety. They expect schools to take serious steps to protect students and staff with measures like temperature checks, sanitization, social distancing, and mask requirements.

- “[Schools should provide] more temp checks, social distancing, upping cleaning crews, [and] setting strict rules." – Beth, 15, CA

- “[Schools should be] definitely making sure schools are sanitized and clean if they will be returning for in-person classes.” – Chermaine, 31, GA

- “[Schools] should provide plenty of supplies such as PPEs and hand sanitizers. [They should be] STRICTLY enforcing social distancing rules, and everyone [NEEDS] to wear masks.” – Michelle, 32, NJ

- “[Schools should provide students] with masks as not all students nor teachers have the ability to afford masks to wear every day. [They should] provide sanitizing products and the option of outdoor learning instead of being in a classroom.” – Daphne, 34, CA

- “I want the students and teachers to do school entirely virtually but if they don’t, then [I wish they could] do it with plexiglass dividing students.” – Robert, 29, WI


Students want brands to go beyond the basics of supply or equipment donations. They want them to help supply technical tools and financial support, especially for low-income families that may be struggling right now.

- “[Brands] can donate supplies, laptops, desktops and money for parents who need help with childcare.” – Chermaine, 31, GA

- “[Brands could] give free internet to families that may not have it because they can't afford it.” – Nicole, 27, PA

- “[Brands] can donate a lot of their school supplies, provide free food to students and teachers, donate facial masks and donate sanitizing equipment.” – Daphne, 34, CA

- “[Brands could] offer computers to students attending schools virtually for the year.” – Robert, 29, WI