NewsGetting Back to School


Where are they now? ABC15 reconnects with students and parents nearly one year later

Online learning
Posted at 7:53 PM, Mar 15, 2021
and last updated 2021-03-15 23:11:11-04

ABC15 first met third grader Mackenzie Underwood, and her family, in July of 2020.

"Every time I pray like, five more days and this COVID would be gone, because it is so annoying," she said back then.

Eight months later her prayers were not exactly answered. COVID-19 is still far from gone, but she was able to return to in-person learning at Noah Webster Charter School after starting in August online.

FULL COVERAGE: Safely Back to School in Arizona

"I get to see my friend Leslie," she said. "We have to wear masks and we have to stay socially distanced. It's easy but it's also a little hard for her to hear me."

Mackenzie's younger brother, Brayden, is now in kindergarten. He attends a Prenda home school program three days a week.

"I didn't think I could handle the platform of both of them being at home with a toddler running around as well," said Leanne Underwood, Mackenzie and Brayden's mom.

Both kids have stayed in person and everyone has stayed healthy. However, with different schools and different drop-offs on different days, Leanne stepped away from her job in home healthcare to focus on the family logistics.

"It's just totally weird because I'm so used to being a working mom every day and then being home, some hours with all of them, and it's just, I feel like a constant chauffeur," she said.

Still, there have been lessons learned.

"Honestly with all the changes I feel like we've learned to be more flexible," said Leeanne. "I feel like we just have learned to live on less too."

The family, now looking ahead to next school year.

"Fingers crossed they'll all go to the same school, same time, same day," said Leeanne. "That would be so nice."

"That we don't have to wear masks and that all this Corona stuff can be gone," said Mackenzie.