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California's schools have been able to manage through the pandemic and open their doors.

"We have had a great start to the new school year," superintendent Dwight Sanders said. "Our administrators, teachers and staff are just so excited to be back in school and know that this is where our students need to be. While there are many proactive precautions in place, students and staff are adjusting to the changes extremely well. I am especially proud of the way our students have accepted the changes and have just made it part of their new normal routine."

The elementary staff and students are excited and happy to be back in their building and going about their regular learning activities.

At California Middle School, students have been doing extremely well when it comes to social distancing and taking precautions. Staff and students have worked hard to disinfect multiple times a day, keep 6 feet apart and wear face masks when needed. Administrators have also decided to spread out their holding areas in the morning, have lunch in classrooms and staggered bells between each period of the day.

"The start of the school year has been great," CMS principal Matt Abernathy said. "The middle school staff has been extremely thankful of how our students and parents have been so compliant of our new procedures and practices, and willing to work with us to ensure that we keep everyone as safe as possible."

For California High School, things have been going smoothly as well. Extra masks have been made available for those who want them and the school has encouraged social distancing within the school and at sporting events. The district has also made sure they are prepared this time in case school does have to shut down and return to virtual learning.

"We have great kids and a really good staff — probably the key to facing any real issue in school is having those two things," CHS principal Sean Kirksey said. "If you have good kids and good teachers, it really makes everything else work out. Again, not an ideal way to return to school with some kids doing distance learning and some in-person and just the balancing of that, it's been a real challenge for our teachers, but I think they've been up to the challenge. They've exceeded expectations for learning and student behavior, it's been really good."

Overall, there have been a few positive COVID-19 cases resulting in some students needing to be quarantined through the contact tracing process.

"We have worked closely with the Moniteau County Health Center through this process and have been able to keep those quarantined down to a minimum, in part, because of the precautions that the district has put into place," Sanders said. "While students are quarantined, we have continued to provide lessons and activities to keep them engaged in the learning process and we will continue to do so. I anticipate that we will continue to see isolated pockets of students and staff being quarantined for the foreseeable future but my hope and expectation is that we will manage these absences on a small scale and keep the majority of students in school where they need to be."

The district is thankful to the Moniteau County Health Center for their partnership as they strive to keep all students and staff safe and in school. Sanders said he would like to thank the staff for their hard work in following the COVID-19 plan and the district's families for their diligence in performing health assessments with their children.

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