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Parents, teachers react to official closing of schools

The governor made the announcement Thursday morning.

WILKES-BARRE, Pa. — Just because Governor Wolf has closed schools for the remainder of the academic year doesn't mean it's time for summer vacation yet.

RELATED: Schools in the state to remain closed through the end of the academic year

Learning will continue virtually, a lot, in part, with help from the Department of Education.

Some students and parents say they are just getting the hang of online learning and the adjustment to schedules, but they're still going to miss a lot of what takes place inside the classroom.

Kindergartner Camden Feldman is sad he will have to continue the rest of his school year online because there are a lot of things about his school he misses.

"My best friend, Abel, and my teacher Mrs. Gribble and recess."

He's not alone. Molly Knight and her mother, Michelle, were upset too.

"I thought that they were going to cancel school for the rest of the year, but I didn't know for sure."

Parents say they're just getting the hang of at home learning routines, and Molly tells Newswatch 16 she's found a special way to replace classroom camaraderie.

It's not just students who will miss spending time inside a classroom; it's hard on the teachers, too.

"It's been tough on the teachers as well. I said yesterday I got a little emotional. You feel like you're not doing the same job that you were previously doing, and it's tough," said Chris Anthony, who teaches second grade at Dan Flood Elementary School in Wilkes-Barre.

Anthony says it's a lot different sitting in front of a screen and teaching instead of walking around a classroom all day.

"It's just got to be done to keep everyone safe and healthy, and that's all that matters now."

A few weeks ago, we told you about the principal at Wyoming Area Primary, who sends out a call every morning to students. He says he's happy to continue them to keep the sense of normalcy until next year when they can all be together again inside the school.

"We are disappointed, but we know that the safety of the people is more important right now and the safety of everybody and trying to contain this virus," said Wyoming Area Primary Principal David Pacchioni.

The Department of Education will be working with school districts across the state to make sure everyone continues to learn new material and is ready for the next grade in the fall.

Many high school seniors were also upset to hear about the end of the school year.

"I know that there's a pandemic going on, I know people are losing their lives every single day, and I know I can speak with a lot of seniors who feel the exact same way, we do know what's going on, but also it's not just a graduation, it's not just a senior year, it's not something stupid, it's something we waited our whole lives to do, and that's just being taken away from us," said Coughlin senior Reven Bozek.

"It was a lot of sadness because you know a lot of the traditions of senior year happen at the end, so it just kind of felt like a sense of loss for all that time with your friends and your teachers, like those last moments of high school, so that's just like what we're feeling, but we're trying to make the best of it," said Marissa Jason, a senior at Holy Redeemer.

Many seniors say they're going to miss senior prom, especially since many already bought their dresses.

"It breaks my heart that like it had to happen to us, but we're still trying to make the best out of the situation," said Holy Redeemer Alyson Price.

These seniors hope this will help them bond with other members of the same class when they go off to college next year.

"It's different, so I'm glad that we're trying to stay safe, but it's just going to be a unique story, I feel like. It's going to be unique to us. No one else has dealt with it this way, so it's just kind of sad, but it's special to us," said Holy Redeemer senior Cloe Mazzatosta.

School will continue online for these seniors, and many hope that at some point this summer, they can still have a graduation ceremony in person.