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Small school reopening in Montana after almost two months

Small school reopening in Montana after almost two months
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A small public school in Montana will be one of the first to reopen in the U.S. following national school closures due to the coronavirus.

Willow Creek School has been closed for almost two months and will reopen on Thursday, sending 56 students and 18 staff members back to finish off the semester, according to The Associated Press.

The school district reportedly surveyed the population around the small Montana community and found that three-quarters of parents would like their kids to return to school, even though there is only a little more than two weeks left until summer break.

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Students will be required to have temperatures taken before entering the school or boarding the bus, while desks will be spaced six feet apart, the AP added. Lunchtimes will also be staggered to avoid crowds, and recess will be held on the football field and basketball court to maintain social distancing guidelines.

The Willow Creek school is also reportedly two-stories tall, allowing more room for the small number of students and staff to spread out when classes resume.

Bonnie Lower, the district superintendent, said she understands the risks involved with the reopening but added she wants to think of the students' wishes, the report added.

"We ride that seesaw every day — is it a good idea?" Lower said. "We're not taking this lightly. We don't want people to think we're being irresponsible by making this choice. We're trying to do what we feel is in the best interest of the students."

Lower said that at least one-quarter of students would reportedly continue studies at home, noting that if all 56 students planned to come back, the school would likely remain closed.

Gov. Steve BullockSteve BullockOVERNIGHT ENERGY: Down ballot races carry environmental implications | US officially exits Paris climate accord  GOP Rep. Greg Gianforte wins Montana governor's race Senate control in flux as counting goes forward in key states MORE (D), who is running for Senate, offered schools a choice to reopen on Thursday after he previously allowed churches, retailers and restaurants to resume activities and business.

However, most students throughout the nation will remain at home until the fall semester, as 45 states, as well as the District of Columbia, have ordered or recommended school closures, according to Education Week, the AP added.

Montana maintains relatively low coronavirus case reports, as 457 cases have been confirmed throughout the entire pandemic, along with 16 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University data.