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Durham Unified School District returns to full in-person learning

Things are a lot closer to normal for one Butte County school district. Monday, all schools in Durham reopened for full in-person learning.

Posted: Mar 4, 2021 5:42 PM
Updated: Mar 4, 2021 5:42 PM

DURHAM, Calif. - Things are a lot closer to normal for one Butte County school district. Monday, all schools in Durham reopened for full in-person learning.

"It feels amazing," said 6th grader, Chaz Phillips. "I missed a lot of my friends and I really liked seeing them."

Phillips is one of hundreds of students who are excited to be back on campus full-time in Durham after only attending school a couple of days a week since October.

"The hardest part was not being able to see my friends," said Phillips.

Friends like Hailie Schmaljohann could hardly contain her excitement. "It feels really good because I get to see all of my friends and learn more often, and it really helps with my learning," she said.

"We have all of our kids back which we've been wanting to do for months," said Durham Elementary School principal, Lisa Atlas. "We started on Monday full-time with all of our students," said added.

Atlas says they are following all safety guidelines. She said the best part for her is seeing her school come back to life. "The laughter, the faces, the kids, air high fiving -- all of those things have been so incredible," she said. "All of the joy of coming to school is back."

Transitional kindergarten and kindergarten teacher Jona Oshea says reopening fully has been an adjustment.

"For the whole return back we had to rearrange our furniture and put up barriers in order to follow the guidelines of social distancing,, said Oshea. We have the fans running full time and we're trying to keep the doors open as much as possible," she added.

Oshea said despite all the changes, she is just glad to be able to see her students everyday.

Out of about 1,000 students that attend Durham Unified School District, 90% are back to campus full-time, according to the principal.

Atlas said they are also making sure to keep students at least four feet apart and are using plexiglass dividers.

Atlas explains that lunch times at the elementary and middle school are staggered now.

There are five different school drop-off and pick-up locations.

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