School’s out, what to do with the kids

Three of Brett and April Henry’s six children, from left, Ferrin, Phillip and Braden, work on school assignment packages while homebound as their school, Richfield Elementary, is closed due to the coronavirus pandemic. The Henry’s live in Corning, and Brett is a Corning High School Spanish teacher and April a former eighth-grade teacher at Richfield Elementary. 


Schools across Tehama County are closed in response to the novel coronavirus outbreak. That leaves thousands of children ages 5-18 years at home, many with their parents who are themselves homebound as businesses and offices remain shutdown under Gov. Newsom’s directive for residents to stay home.

So, how are families dealing with the change in circumstances? Evette Santano, a mother of three school-aged children, said thing are going okay so far.

“We are just trying to stay busy. The kids have schoolwork each day and we are really doing okay,” she added.

Michelle Barnes, who has children home from school, said she is finding it a bit stressful.

“The kids really miss school. But we are doing daily study and thank goodness for the meals the schools are handing out,” she added as she picked up sack meals at Corning High School. “Without those my kids would be eating me out of house and home.”

Brett and April Henry, of Corning are the parents of six children, five of them school age, who are all home due to the pandemic.

“So far we are really enjoying being home and not in a rush all the time getting kids off to school or other activities,” April said. “It has been less stressful having them home, but there are times I need some quiet time and shoo them into the playroom for a while.”

The Henry’s oldest child, Braden, a seventh-grade student in Cindy Fralin’s Richfield Elementary School class, said it has been fun staying at home, but that he misses school and what it offers. 

“They all miss school,” April said, except for their 3-month-old daughter, Noelle, of course.

The family spends the mornings on schoolwork and the afternoons doing physical and creative activities.

Ferrin Henry, a second-grade student at Richfield, said, “I really miss my friends and teacher.”

However, her younger brother, Phillip, said he really likes have his “mommy” as his teacher. The family’s oldest daughter, Rylee, feels the experience is “definitely different,” but she is enjoying getting to spend more time with her family.

Each school in the area is offering distance learning programs as schools remain closed, either through online programs or students can pickup learning packets at their specific campuses. 

Leah Fredrickson, the mother of four Kirkwood Elementary School students, said she is grateful for the many online learning programs being offered right now, many at no cost during this time, which provide her children with additional education opportunities.

“Along with their schoolwork, my kids are also spending time doing chores like stacking wood, taking care of our animals, and doing science projects with their dad. We are just having to be more creative with our time,” she added. Her husband, Shaun Fredrickson, is a biology teacher at Corning High School.

It is unknown when schools will reopen with Gov. Gavin Newsom’s announcement on Tuesday the state will most likely remain “shutdown” through April.

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