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By Briana Gomez
Image via Alexandra Koch from Pixabay
November 1, 2020 (La Mesa) -- The City of La Mesa Community Relations and Veterans Commission and the Youth Advisory Commission hosted a zoom summit Wednesday on youth in the age of COVID.

“Obviously there are things that could improve to make the situation more comfortable,” said Rachel Sharp, a local high school senior.
“With friends its [sic] been a lot more difficult,” Sharp posted during the event. “I think that myself as well as a lot of other people have found ways to still talk with their friends…it’s definitely a lot more difficult to connect with teachers; a lot of people don’t turn on their camera in zoom classes.”
Dennis Sharp (right), the moderator and Rachel’s father, received questions through Facebook which he asked Rachel.
Rachel Sharp says she trusts the decisions of administrators with regard to returning to campus. 
“I recently took an ACT [Average Composite Act test] in a classroom,” said Rachel, noting that the proctor enforced masks in the room.
Jennifer Coronel, a K-8 instructor in the La Mesa-Spring Valley school district spoke from an educator’s perspective.
“Our group of social workers are able to communicate with families…we’ve created a lot of avenues for our students to stay connected [if they’re not able to log on at a specific time],” said Coronel. 
Rachel Sharp answered an additional question about the college application process. “In terms of college applications, it’s been great. I couldn’t imagine having to work on applications when I have school and extracurricular activities,” said Sharp.
She felt that in some ways the privilege of personal time management for school work has been a blessing.
Genevieve Suzuki (left), a parent of a kindergartener and a sixth grader who are both students of St. Martin in La Mesa. Suzuki’s husband is a resource teacher of San Diego Unified.
“His job has become so much more important and my job has had to take a backseat which is hard,” said Suzuki, who is a family law attorney and graduate of Cal Western.
“I’m not a teacher, I don't have the skill set required for an elementary school teacher,” added Suzuki. 
Danielle Womack, the parent of three children:  a first grader and two teenage girls, is the director of City Hope. Womack says she adjusted to being home and also supporting others who are at home.
“We have all these different roles and we are integrous people who want to do the best we really can,” said Womack, “but never before have I had to determine what job I’m capable of doing in the middle of a pandemic.”
Womack said she realized that first and foremost she is a mother, and so if her teenage daughters want to have a conversation at 11 a.m. when she should be focusing on work, she prioritizes their emotional needs. 
“There’s times where my important list has to trump my urgent list,” said Womack. 
The overall sentiment was there have been both pros and cons about at-home learning and that navigating family life and the necessity of family support has been brought to the forefront. 


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