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BONANZA – Lining up in Kayla Herr’s kindergarten class looks a little different this fall at Bonanza Elementary.

Each student on Tuesday took hold of white loops attached to a long rope as they left their classroom. It allowed the new Antlers in training to spread apart and single file as they walked down the hallway.

“We have to give our friends space,” Kerr said. “So make sure your arms aren’t touching anybody.”

Bonanza Elementary and Junior/Senior High School kicked off Tuesday with -in-person classes, one of many schools across Oregon with less than 250 students who were able to do so.

Students will attend school for two days consecutively, with distance learning via Chromebooks and binders the other days, depending on grade.

While in person, schools are following all the state guidelines such as social distancing, face masks, and hand washing. 

Despite restrictions and guidelines, teachers and staff kept the day light, with cheerful attitudes and smiling eyes behind masks and face shields.

“Has everybody got a mask or a shield on?” Kerr asked cheerfully.

“I’ve got my shield on!” a student yelled out.

“Yay!” Herr said. “This is going to be an amazing year, my friends."

Just across the school yard at Bonanza High School, senior class president Kailyn Nichols and vice-president Jaycie Schooler, both wearing masks, helped students with their schedules.

Nichols and Schooler both missed out on softball this Spring due to COVID-19 closures and cancellations, and saying goodbye to many senior friends last spring.

They both look more optimistically at being "all in" for their senior year — even for two days a week.

Through the high school doors behind them, a metal crafted sign made by Bonanza teacher Anna Aylett boasts the same mantra: “All in.”

It’s a motto that means a lot to Bonanza High Principal Jordan Osborne. With everything happening with COVID-19 this year, she said it seemed appropriate.

“Basically what that is is a focus on the time that we do have, and not a complaint about the time that we don’t have,” said Bonanza Junion/Senior High Principal Jordan Osborne. “And just an intense, energetic, positive focus on the two days that we do have in school and getting the best out of everybody — staff, students, and community, and just trying to do the best we can with those two days.”

Osborne emphasized students will still have comprehensive distance learning for the other three days of school week.

Motioning to senior class presidents outside, he said the plan is to make a tough situation into a positive experience.

“We owe it to them,” Osborne said. “We’ve got to have a great year regardless of the circumstances. You only get one shot. We're going to be all in on this shot.”