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Willows Public Elementary School first in county to hold in-person instruction

An elementary school in one Northern California county is set to be the first public school to welcome students back into the classroom.

Posted: Sep 24, 2020 3:42 AM
Updated: Sep 25, 2020 5:39 AM

WILLOWS, Calif. - An elementary school in one Northern California county is set to be the first public school to welcome students back into the classroom.

School leaders from Murdock Elementary School located on 655 French St. in Willows, applied for a waiver. Per state guidelines elementary schools are allowed to apply for a waiver.

The Murdock Elementary School principal, Shirley Williams, tells Action News Now, roughly 600 students are returning to campus.

"We're excited to have our kids back on campus!" Williams said.

Williams tells Action News Now the waiver allows teachers to reunite with students, but with some modifications.

"We are starting on a hybrid model. We have divided our students into two color groups because our school colors are green and yellow," Williams said.

Roughly 300 students will start school in the morning, once they finish class, another 300 students take up learning in the afternoon.

"One of the requirements is to keep cohorts of students together and with just the same adults.”

That means no recess for the time being.

“We know it’s going to be a challenge for the little ones but we’re about teaching and we’re about supporting our kids and getting them where they need to be.”

And inside the classrooms, students will be six feet apart at all times, and only 12 to 13 students can be inside.

"They won't be mixing." Teachers tell Action News Now they are ready for the big day, whether it's supplying the classroom with sanitizers, plexiglass, or masks.

Action News Now also asked Williams how lunch will operate during the school sessions.

"Our meals will all be in the classroom,” meaning that food will be delivered to students to avoid a gathering at the cafeteria.

Action News Now also asked Emmett Koerperich, the superintendent of Willows Unified School District, if he can ensure to parents that its safe to bring their children to school.

"We’re doing the very best we can following all the state guidelines that’s the one thing that Dr. [Jared] Garrison our public health director here in Glenn county has been impressed with, is the efforts of this school and getting prepared to make it as safe as possible for everyone involved,” Koerperich said.

"Little kids need to be interacting and we need to be teaching them those developmentally appropriate social skills,” Williams said.

For parents who are still uncomfortable bringing their children to school, Williams tells Action News Now they can still learn virtually. At least 50 students, which makes up 10% of the student body have chosen to remain online. 

And per state guidelines, temperature checks will be conducted prior to entering the campus and visitors will not be allowed during this time. 

California Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 923648

Reported Deaths: 17559
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Los Angeles3050707044
Riverside675521306
San Bernardino641311073
Orange594421468
San Diego55898885
Kern34114420
Fresno31195439
Sacramento25882499
Santa Clara24665404
Alameda23636463
San Joaquin21988492
Contra Costa18877243
Stanislaus17814400
Tulare17730291
Ventura14409166
Imperial13023338
San Francisco12277145
Monterey1153892
San Mateo11278159
Santa Barbara9886126
Sonoma9601136
Merced9588155
Kings848683
Solano758676
Marin7107127
Madera506676
Placer429059
San Luis Obispo424032
Yolo325060
Butte313453
Santa Cruz284825
Shasta199931
Napa199816
Sutter188912
San Benito144915
El Dorado13684
Yuba133810
Mendocino115421
Tehama9219
Lassen7711
Lake70216
Glenn6793
Nevada6328
Humboldt56910
Colusa5536
Calaveras34721
Amador33716
Tuolumne2855
Inyo24015
Siskiyou2140
Mono1822
Del Norte1801
Mariposa812
Plumas760
Modoc450
Trinity280
Sierra60
Alpine40
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We're closing out the month of October on a beautiful note weather-wise over northern California with plenty of sunshine and above-average temperatures. Halloween will bring slightly warmer temperatures and more sunshine.
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