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Students return to in-person learning for the first time since March

Douglas County, Cherry Creek, Sheridan school districts believe COVID protocols will keep everyone safe.

SHERIDAN, Colorado — Every year, the first day of school often brings excitement. But, from Douglas County to Cherry Creek to Sheridan, this first day of school brings something else.

"Well, you know, for me, it was more the nerves with COVID and everything," Nicole Dieu, parent, said. "But, I knew they were taking all the precautionary measures. So, it definitely eased it."

Dieu brought her son Colin to Alice Terry Elementary School in Sheridan for his first day of kindergarten after hearing the plans of Superintendent Pat Sandos to keep everyone safe.

"I understand the anxiety. I think we all have a little bit of anxiety. I think this is all new to us," Sandos said. "It's a little bit of a different opening, but still as exciting, just a different flair of exciting."

Sandos is executing a plan that includes limiting classroom capacities to about 10 students with the rest of the class in an adjacent room remote learning from the same teacher. Students will then alternate days of being with the teacher in-person. Students will be kept six feet apart as much as possible.

"They're making them wear their masks. They're constantly sanitizing. They're making sure everything is safe and clean for them," Dieu said.

RELATED: State releases new coronavirus guidance for schools, daycare centers

In Cherry Creek at Rolling Hills Elementary School, Principal Ashley Gehrke believes kids needed to come back. 

"It just feels more normal," Gehrke said. "We are teachers and educators because we love building relationships with students and so they're so excited to have students back in the building."

Sandos said the good news for all schools from Douglas County to Cherry Creek to Sheridan is that the state is reporting a decrease in daily COVID cases.

"I'm just encouraged with the numbers being down," Sandos said. "I think it's a great time for us to start. So, we're going to take advantage of that and really make the most of it."

He hopes to provide the first of many days of kids learning in-person while keeping the pandemic at bay. Dieu hopes so, too.

"As long they keep up all the protocols that have set, they'll be alright," Dieu said.

Other major districts like Denver, Jefferson County, Boulder, and Adams 12 Five Star Schools all start the fall semester next week in remote learning.

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