NewsGetting Back to School


Where are they now? Valley families reflect on tumultuous school year

Posted at 7:49 AM, Mar 19, 2021
and last updated 2021-03-19 10:49:56-04

GILBERT, AZ — ABC15 first met Cayden and Addison McIsaac in July of 2020. The first and third grader had just started the school year online in the Higley Unified School District.

"I want to go back to school because I miss my friends and everything," Cayden told ABC15's Danielle Lerner last summer.

"Pretty hard juggling them, and baby," said their mom, Tracey McIsaac. "On a day-to-day basis we make it work."

The family is thankful their kids resumed in-person learning after Labor Day, even if it does look and feel a bit different.

"Our desks have to be at least six feet apart or more," said Addison.

"Kind of weird wearing the masks," said Cayden.

Everyone has stayed healthy and both Tracey and John have been able to keep working from home. However, the anxiety surrounding the unknown has been a constant.

"Not knowing if it was going to close down at any point was the most nerve-wracking thing," said John McIsaac, Cayden and Addison's dad.

Leigh Ann Vaught expressed similar feelings. Her daughter, Mia, is a high school student in the Higley District.

"There was always the threat of going home," she said.

"Starting off remote was a lot harder than I thought and jumping right back to in-person was a lot better," said Mia.

Mia says the masks, distancing and added rules are still worth the return to campus. She did have to quarantine when a fellow cheerleader tested positive for the virus, and while she feels like she's learning more in person, her mom has some concerns about the long-term impacts of the pandemic.

"It's going to impact us for years to come, I mean she's a sophomore that I'm afraid has not hit all the standards," said Leigh Ann.

Still, both families agree this tumultuous school year has come with some silver linings.

"The kids' ability to adapt has been so, like awesome to see," said John McIsaac.

"This group of kids is resilient, and they've overcome something that no other generation of high schoolers has had to," said Leigh Ann Vaught.