How can students express their ideas about living through a pandemic and contribute to the fabric of our humanity?  

Invite them. Then get out of the way.

Last April, during the school closure due to Covid-19, French Ford Middle School decided to pivot their annual publishing event “Ink!” to a digital format. 

Thirty-five 5th and 6th graders participated in writing and art workshops on digital platforms and contributed pieces for the final book Ink 2020:Uncertain Times.  

“The responses blew us away,” said Jaime Peterson, event organizer and FFMS teacher.  Another organizer and FFMS teacher Katie Donovan added, “The abrupt change to teaching and learning behind a screen from home was so disorienting for students and teachers.  Jumping into this project despite the uncertainty was very rewarding for us.  The work that the teachers and the students were doing felt REAL.   

The magic of writing and art healed us and helped us make sense of the situation.”  Several people contributed to the event including past and present Humboldt County teachers and local artists and writers. 

The week of workshops wrapped up with a zoom celebration where students shared their pieces and received artistic encouragement from keynote speakers including local musical artist Jace Billingsley and Nevada writer Shaun Griffin.  

“Schools can play an important role in valuing and amplifying student voices,” adds Donovan.  “In the age of masks and distance, this seems more important than ever.”

Community Poem

Excerpts from Ink 2020

Uncertain Time

I prayed that everyone would be safe, healthy, careful, and wise about their decisions.

I didn’t know this then, but in the next couple of months with your mom as a teacher would be hard.  As we always do, we will get through this tough time.

“I already forgot, I hope this coronavirus thing goes away soon.” 

I now know a world that’s dark and gloomy, boring and chaotic. 

I now know a world where you can’t leave your house.

The sun and the moon, rarely seen in the same skies together

Like people with common sense 

Social distancing

They are missing the real world but some people they know are in the book.  

OH the worst part…  

Is not knowing....   

How far this is going          

And when it will end

And this my friend                 

Is the thing whose Name we’d rather not say

“I wanted to show my respect to the nurses and doctors trying their best to help their patients during this hard time”

And only if they do leave, people are wearing, masks, gloves, 

People are even staying six feet apart, from everyone

Give them hope

Here I am in this pandemic

Trying to be poetic

Let’s all be true

And try to get through

Hoping it’ll all be over tomorrow

Can’t wait to go and play

Can’t wait until the virus goes away

Then came the announcement that school was cancelled for the rest of the year and she wouldn’t get to see her friends or teachers.

Since the first case on November 17, 2019 it hasn’t stopped spreading

 Every business is essential to someone.she viewed toilet paper and Clorox wipes and realized her eerie feeling was because all the magic in Oz was gone

Home is where we don’t want to be.    

So many are lost and so many in pain

“I feel like if we work together we can all create something”.

I thought that home schooling would be all cherries and rainbows but now that we are all doing it I miss school probably more than anything, and I want to go back so badly. It’s KILLING me!!!”


Back at the house with the candies and the flower I made the cure. 

Arianna now likes sleeping in and practicing how to cook but she used to like family get-togethers at her aunt’s house.

 It reminds her of some people who are taking their time and making something beautiful during this time. 

“it represents how we are all in this together no matter what gender or race”


Unless we want to see a continued outbreak, we should be doing social distancing and wearing a mask. 

I never realized how much I would miss school.   Having TikTok has really kept me entertained and connected to others during quarantine.

One thing she will remember about the pandemic is that it was hard to have fun because she always had homework and there is not a lot to do in a small house. 

I’m Adelaide LaiMore and I’m the last person on Earth, after a global pandemic that took out everyone, but somehow, the Coronavirus didn’t take me with it.

So then a month came around and still no school. Online school was giving us trouble so I got really mad at myself and others which wasn’t good. All I wanted was to go back to school. 

You have pickled mushroom soup but you don’t have the CoronaVirus. The soup is better. It can’t kill someone.

Something she will remember about the quarantine is playing on the trampoline almost every day. 

We do our work on google classroom and some weeks we have zoom meetings with our teachers. It is new to some people and not to others, so to some people it is hard and to some it’s not. 

Allyssa will remember having Easter under quarantine and not having the ability to spend time with family other than her mom, dad, and sister.

She enjoys having a peace of mind and late mornings right now but she used to enjoy hanging out with her friends.

He gives the students no harm, 

They come and perch on our arms.

But now, there are no children to look after,

No noise, no laughter.