Teachers keep Chico Elementary School students safe at first day of school

Students in Chico are back in class for the first time in seven months. Action News Now was at McManus Elementary to talk to them about how they are feeling.

Posted: Oct 19, 2020 8:00 PM

CHICO, Calif. -Action News Now was at McManus Elementary to talk to them about how they are feeling.

Chris Weaver went to school at McManus, was a teacher there, and is now the Principal.

"Seeing people come back, wearing PPE, social distancing, and doing things safely, just warms my heart," said Weaver.

Weaver isn't the only one who felt it was time to be back.

"I am just excited for Ava to come back, I feel like this was kind of affecting her mental health a little bit, she was depressed, she is seven," said Angela Welty.

Welty says she had a hard time juggling work and teaching her kids from home, but she was most concerned about her daughter's mental health.

"When I told her she was going back to school, you saw how excited she is, she is super excited," siad Welty.

"I am very excited to be here, because I miss Mrs. Oswalt, Mrs. Cardoza, and Mrs. Leaf," said Welty's daughter Ava.

Ava wasn't the only student ready to be back.

"I can't wait to see all my friends again, some of them that were in my class last year," said her classmate Litricie.

Both girls had one concern.

"It is going to be hard for me to stay six feet away," said Ava.

"It is hard to stay away from my friends because I really really miss them, so it's going to be really hard to stay away from them," said Litricie.

Action News Now spoke to Principal Weaver about how the school is working to make sure that doesn't happen.

"Well you know we have been practicing for months now in the community and I think it is directly transferring on the campus. Each and everyday we talk about the importance of socially distancing while on campus," said Weaver.

Weaver says all teachers and staff are working together to enforce social distancing, and keeping masks on at school.

Katy Leaf is a kindergarten teacher and says the district provided extra masks, wipes, and cleaning supplies.

"I will disinfect all the manipulatives and the supplies and materials before we get the new group of kids coming in," said Leaf.

Leaf added all the classrooms have their own sinks, so students can wash their hands there. Teachers also covered up the water fountains just to be safe, but that is not all that they are doing.

Teachers also have the option to do temperature checks.

"Our nurse gave us some medical supplies, some band aids and gloves and that kind of thing, just to reduce the amount of kids we have to send down to the office," said Leaf.

Leaf said she was a little worried to come back, but is glad she did.

"You know I think we have taken the proper precautions to be responsible with what is going on," said Leaf.

Leaf said the biggest challenge for her is the limited activities she can do with her students.

"I think the social emotional learning piece is my first priority and with our distances we have to keep with our peers and the sanitization with our supplies and materials and toys. It kind of restrictions and limits the activities I would be doing in class," said Leaf.

One of the activities the students were able to do, play with chalk, but they did make sure they were social distancing.

"Before they went out there we talked about our space bubble, so they put their hands side by side and they make a space bubble and I asked them to be mindful about it," said Leaf.

There are some activities they can do inside.

"I have individual tool boxes so with their white board pens, crayons, scissors, markers, all of that they have an individual set just for them in their cubby," said Leaf.

Leaf says she sanitizes all of the shared items between the AM and PM classes.

Some of the students opted to stay for online classes only, but a majority of them came back in person.

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