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Colorado Springs teacher shares what returning to school looks like during COVID-19

Katie O'Connor
Posted at 12:32 PM, Jul 23, 2020
and last updated 2020-07-27 09:58:19-04

COLORADO SPRINGS — In a widely shared Facebook video, a Colorado Springs teacher is giving an unfiltered look at what the process looks like for educators returning to school to prepare for the upcoming school year.

Katie O'Connor took over our KOAA Instagram account to give us a behind-the-scenes look at what preparing for her students looks like during the COVID-19 pandemic.

She's a fifth-grade teacher in District 49 who returned to her classroom Thursday to pack up any personal items she might not use during the school year and take them home to help create room in the classroom for desks to be socially distanced.

"And while I am sad to drift from the norm and what we used to have, it doesn't mean that I'm not excited for what's to come," O'Connor said during our takeover. "I'm excited for all the new opportunities we're going to have. But right now, I'm just kind of grieving the loss of normalcy."

On Friday, O'Connor took our News5 audience along as she spaced out 20 desks and she shared that at her school instead of her fifth-grade students rotating for different subjects, the teachers would have to rotate to different classrooms to teach their subjects.

In her classroom, students will be separated by three feet of distance at the CDC's recommendation when six feet is not possible.

"It's hard to see my classroom this way. It's hard to imagine what it's going to be like filled with tiny, little bodies at these desks so far apart," she said.

Click here to watch the complete Instagram takeover under "BacktoSchool" in our highlights.

O'Connor moved here last year from Michigan to begin teaching fifth-grade in the Springs and she said that as a teacher, she felt the need to share with parents what returning to school will look like.

Colorado Springs teacher shares what returning to school looks like during COVID-19

District 49 announced mid-July it would be returning to in-person learning with students required to wear a mask if they are between first and 12th grade. The district is offering e-learning for students who are "unable or choose not to wear a mask." O'Connor said the district is being flexible and creative with the new process.

The Colorado Department of Education released new guidance last Monday for schools to reopen next semester, but local districts still have a large say in what exactly their schooling will look like in the fall.

"My goal is to show people- especially parents- just what going back to in-person school will look like so you can make an informed decision for your family," O'Connor wrote on Facebook.