COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) – Wednesday is set to be a big day for Columbus as teachers on strike will be back on the picket lines in the morning.

The teachers’ union, the Columbus Education Association, and the Columbus City School Board are set to meet at 1 p.m. with a federal mediator to negotiate again in an attempt at a contract. It is the first bargaining session since before CEA voted to strike on Sunday.

While all that is happening, students will be attending their first day of the school year remotely.

Usually, on the eve of the first day of school, Sarai Shields spends the night looking forward to the day ahead, but that’s not the case this year.

“I’m getting everything ready, just getting stuff ready, because I was excited, but now I’m just like, it feels like COVID all over again,” Shields said.

She’s about to start her junior year at West High School, but the year is starting online for Columbus City Schools students.

“I just want everything to go back to normal because it just feels like kids in my generation of high school haven’t really like got the feel of high school yet,” Shields said.

Kamryn Grant is a junior at Africentric, and she is also disheartened at having to start the school year online.

“I don’t know how I feel about this Zoom,” she said. “It’s just not going to make any sense. Like, what work are we going to learn?”

Part of the eve of the first day of school for Columbus City Schools Superintendent Dr. Talisa Dixon was spent on a virtual family engagement session. 

“I recognize this opening is not ideal, but we want our students to have a wonderful opening, to be excited about tomorrow,” Dixon said.

But that’s not how Shields and Grant are feeling.

“They have to do something because this isn’t going to work out,” Grant said.

Several families said their students would not be logging in to the virtual school Wednesday as a way of showing support for the teachers.