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Back to School: East Tennessee students share thoughts, concerns about the new school year

From Loudon to Knox and Blount Counties, students said they are ready to see their friends but they also feel a little nervous.

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — From the smallest learners to rising seniors, East Tennessee's students are anxious to see what next year will look like. Many are eager to see their friends again, but are also worried about returning to school.

Jala Riddle will be a senior at Austin East and has mixed feelings about her last year. 

"I'm kind of bummed out it because I was like, 'this is going to be a great year,'" she said. "You never know what's really going to happen so that worries me."

Harper Wiley is headed to the 7th grad in Lenoir City. She said that he's nervous about the changes to classrooms, and about how unlike it will be from previous school years. Yet, she also said she's excited to reunite with her friends.

"We're hoping to be in the same classroom at least," she said.

Adalinne Weatherbee is ready for that too. She's headed to the 4th grade in Maryville, but one of her main concerns is the well-being of her classmates.

"They don't get enough to eat sometimes, so it's going to make me happy that they are safe and healthy," Weatherbee said. 

As far as school changes, she's only aware of one so far — that schools will be taking temperatures to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

In Knox County, Evie Cox is prepping for Kindergarten.

"I'm a little nervous," she said. 

Her sister Makenlee is headed to the 8th grade and while she's ready to see her friends too, she wants to see what changes will come with returning to school.

"I'm anxious to know what's gonna happen," she said. 

From Loudon County to Blount to Knox, students said just like their teachers, they still have a lot of questions.

"I don't know where to go or what to do," Riddle said. 

But what they do know is they miss seeing each other.

"I miss them and I can't wait to see them again," Weatherbee said. 

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