Madera Unified teachers instructing students from empty classrooms

MADERA, Calif. (KFSN) -- Teachers at the newly built Matilda Torres High School started this school year unlike any other - teaching from empty classrooms.

"It's about as strange and surreal as you can possibly get. It's a little bittersweet after so many leaders and trustees and community leaders have worked on this school for two decades, when we get to this final finish that our kids worked so hard to get across.... no kids," says superintendent Todd Lile.

The school year looks very different for students - learning strictly from home.

For teachers, they'll be providing instruction from the classroom and facing some changes of their own.

One example - starting each day with a health questionnaire.

"Once they respond to those questions they're issued a badge for the day. A green badge means they're welcome to come to work and a red badge ultimately means this is a decision for you to stay home," says Matilda Torres High School principal Sabrina Rodriquez.

They present those green badges once they get to campus and have their temperatures checked.

Staff say they hope to see kids back in the classrooms once it's safe, even sticking to a block schedule for virtual learning so they'll be ready when the time comes.

They say the welcome back will be gradual so they can follow social distancing guidelines.

There are over 20,000 students enrolled in Madera Unified.
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