Ezequiel Tafoya Alvarado Academy in Madera welcomes students back to campus

As small groups of students start returning to the classroom, they're quickly learning a new normal.
MADERA, Calif. (KFSN) -- As small groups of students start returning to the classroom, they're quickly learning a new normal.

It's a very different school setting for the 50 students back in the classroom at Ezequiel Tafoya Alvarado Academy.

"Screenings, sanitizing, cleaning, and social distancing, that's why we're opening slowly," explained executive director John McClure.

Dozens of students at ETAA returned on Monday.

"It's all voluntary. It's the teachers who want to be part of this program are having their classes back, and the parents who want their children to be a part of this are having their students come back," said McClure.

No more than 14 students are assigned to a classroom, with each student screened and sanitized as soon as they arrive. From lunch to recess, it's all different.

"Lunch is taken to their classrooms, and they eat it in their rooms, then each group gets to come out for a short recess," said McClure.

Busing, a crucial need for families, is still provided.

"Busing is a challenge because we can only have a limited number of students on the buses, so we're having to double the number of routes," explained McClure. "If we didn't provide busing, we would have a smaller population here because our families just can't get here."

Overall, the staff is excited to see students back in the classroom.

"Our population was really asking us can you bring the kids back?" said McClure. "We had parents coming in asking, can you bring the kids back? Can you please reopen?"

They plan to bring back the next wave of students on November 2.
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