DAYS CREEK — Days Creek Charter School was the first in Douglas County to open the doors for 17 students Monday for in-person learning amid the coronavirus pandemic.
“Students and teachers are really excited to be back on campus,” Superintendent Steve Woods said in an email Monday.
The school, which is classified as rural and remote, is allowed to reopen under state guidelines.
In an abundance of caution, the school district opted to stagger the start of the school year. Kindergarten and first grade started Monday, second and third grade will join Tuesday and by Wednesday, kindergartners through sixth graders will be in attendance.
“The staggered start gives us time to iterate before the next cohort arrives,” Woods said.
On Sept. 2, the school will have approximately 200 students back in the building for all grades.
“First day has gone very smoothly so far. Parents followed protocols and were very happy bringing students to campus,” Woods said. “Much time has passed since March 13 and having student life back in the building has been very therapeutic. We are in the ‘people and relationship’ business and returning to and carrying out our mission to inspire and develop learners, thinkers and leaders is super exciting.”
Students and parents who do not feel safe could choose to do distance learning. Those students can return to on-site learning after each quarter.
As of Monday, six families opted for comprehensive distance learning but students and families can make changes to their education until Sept. 2.
For the students who are at school, there are a few changes: they’ll need to wear masks, there will be no lockers, they’ll be asked to keep a distance, there will be more frequent hand washing.
Parents who were hoping to walk their little ones to their classrooms are out of luck this year, as no visitors are allowed in the building.
Woods also said the school added motion-sensored water, soap and towel dispensers in classrooms, reconfigured the furniture and adjusted teacher protocols to adhere to both federal and state guidelines.
Several other small schools in Douglas County will start on-site learning next week.
All school plans and calendars are dependent on the spread of the coronavirus, both in the state and in the county, and could change at any time.