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Teachers, parents and students react to returning to school in Westminster

Posted at 5:20 PM, Aug 20, 2020
and last updated 2020-08-20 22:21:05-04

WESTMINSTER -- For many parents, dropping their kids off at school Thursday came with reservations.

"Mixed feelings, mixed feelings," said Willow Mason, who was dropping off two of her children.

For Mason, her concerns were met with the reality of having to put food on the table.

"We’re supposed to be going to work too. I didn’t have a whole lot of choice, because if they decided to do remote learning, somebody would’ve had to be there with them and we just don’t have that option," said Mason.

Thousands of students within Westminster Public Schools were in a position to opt out of in-person learning and went the online route.

Audrey Thorstad, a second-grade teacher at Josephine Hodgkins Leadership Academy, says it’s helped them socially distance more kids in the classroom.

"With so many parents choosing to be virtual with the kids that are here, it allowed us to really take the time with those kids. I can also tell that my parents practiced with my students wearing their masks," said Thorstad.

She says even though she was worried at first, day one has been a success.

"At the beginning of the summer I was very scared; I was very nervous; I was very worried. But I think what brought me comfort is knowing how hard my school and my district has worked," said Thorstad.

During school, everyone is required to wear masks in indoors; desks are distanced inside the classroom and there are temperature and symptom screenings every day.

"A lot of people were trying to group up because they weren’t used to being so far apart from each other all the time. But other than that, they’ve been really compliant," said Emilie Johnson, who is a senior at Westminster High School.

Some teachers we spoke with who were already uncomfortable returning to school say they still feel it’s too soon to for in-person learning.

Despite Thursday's apparent success, one teacher called Denver7 saying she is still terrified of going back into the classroom.