Massachusetts

Photographer's Year of COVID Project Asks Kids, ‘What Are They Missing?'

Abby Murphy usually takes family and lifestyle photos, but wanted to document how trying the year of the coronavirus has been on kids

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The images are powerful: a child learning remotely, playing all alone, time spent home without friends.

They're part of a special photo project that families in North Andover are participating in, one that documents what kids have lost over a year learning from home during the coronavirus crisis.

"It was my children's chance to have a voice," mom Alyson Segool said.

Some children held signs to say what they miss the most, like, "I miss seeing and learning with all my friends!"

"My son Aidan wrote, 'I learn best in school,' 'cause that's for him a really big motto. This is really hard to learn myself, alone at home," Segool said.

Photo Project Asks Kids What They've Missed During a Year of Pandemic Lockdown

Abby Murphy, a mom herself, is the photographer behind the project. She usually takes family and lifestyle photos, but wanted to document how trying the year of the coronavirus has been on kids.

She said it's been rewarding: "I decided to do what they we're missing…I'm so used to taking pictures of kids smiling, talking about how awesome their day is, I don't feel like we always stop and ask the kids … what are they missing?"

Rebecca Stronck, another North Andover mom, gets emotional when she reflects on her 8- and 10-year-olds' year.

"It's sleepless nights, anxiety-filled days. It runs the gamut," said Stronck. "I want my children back in school and I want my children's teachers who are incredible back in school, feeling safe and happy. It's where they all belong."

Mass. early educators and school staff will be eligible for getting the coronavirus vaccine, Gov. Charlie Baker announced Wednesday.

These parents said it was welcome news that teachers will soon be eligible to ge the vaccine, and they're hoping these photos will soon become a distant memory.

"I'm feeling very hopeful that things are headed in the right direction," Segool said.

The plan for returning to school is still being worked out right now in North Andover. Tentatively, grades K-5 will head back to school full-time on April 5.

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