NASSAU COUNTY, Fla — Hello, summer! It's the last week of school in multiple First Coast Counties including Duval, Clay, Nassau, and Glynn Counties.
Florida schools have made national news multiple times this year. One of the latest issues is the rejection of math textbooks to get them to fit with a new law on how race is talked about in schools.
This is the first school year COVID-19 has not dominated the conversation the entire year. That means families are finally able to look back on this school year differently.
The first time First Coast News talked with Nassau County parent Rebecca McKinney was in August of 2020.
"While it brought me comfort knowing that all these safety precautions are going to be taken it, also made me feel stressed for what my kids are going to experience," she told First Coast News then.
But the conversation now with McKinney and her 10-year-old daughter Charlotte has changed from social distancing to, well, normal stuff. Charlotte spoke animatedly in the interview about drama with her friend group.
Now the McKinneys are excitedly looking toward summer vacation and all the activities planned. For the first time in a while, COVID-19 is not the 'number one' issue on their minds.
The McKinneys also look back on a good school year. But it has been a tumultuous one overall for Florida schools. From new laws restricting how teachers talk about race and impacting LGBTQ+ students to a reported teacher shortage.
"I have noticed that there's a lot more responsibilities falling on our teachers' shoulders, which makes me sad," McKinney said. "I wish that there was more ways for us to help them."
The McKinneys don't take their teachers for granted.
"Whenever we do parties, though, my teacher always asks us to chip in at least $3 or $5 because we're going to have a pizza party at the end of the year," said Charlotte.
They're also not taking for granted the pizza parties, which were not happening in 2020.
First Coast News spoke with the McKinney family before the mass school shooting in Texas.