The question of whether it is safe to return to class remains up in the air for many schools

PHOENIX, AZ (3TV/CBS 5) -- On Monday, all Arizona schools were required to provide a place for students to go and learn on site.

It's part of the requirements put in place by Governor Doug Ducey so that essential workers and parents, who can’t stay with their children, have somewhere to send them.

One elementary school here in the Valley had more than 20 percent of its students show up on the first day back.

David Crockett Elementary school is located near 32nd street and Van Buren Road. School officials say 130 of its 550 students enrolled will be sitting in an actual classroom this fall. "These are families whose parents have to go to work; there is no way for their families to survive without them to go onto to jobs,” said Superintendent Dr. Arlene Kennedy.

This is Dr. Kennedy’s first year with the district, though she is no stranger to dealing with special challenges. “My most recent experience dealing with a crisis situation was immediately post-Katrina, when I had to deal with the crisis with the aftermath of coming back after a hurricane,” said Dr. Kennedy.

She said more than half of their teachers returned to in-person instruction when it was announced just how many students were planning to come back. Those teacher include Michelle Nichols ,who is teaching a group of second graders, while in separate room someone else is teaching the same curriculum to students at home.

Crossing guard TJ Warner was also back, helping direct traffic in the halls, the arrows and lane lines indicate which way students are supposed to walk and which side to stay on for social distancing. "It's different, but kids are happy to finally be back,” said Warner.

All children and staff are required to have their temperature checked and to wear masks. Children also get to enjoy recess, twice a day, and each class stays together, but in different zones on the playground.


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