As some schools prepare to reopen amid the novel coronavirus pandemic, a Colorado teacher is sharing the reality of what it takes to set up her classroom to be COVID-19 compliant.
Katie O'Connor, of Colorado Springs, posted the footage onto Facebook, where it garnered over 4 million views.
O'Connor had to remove all furniture from her fifth grade science room in order to try and space desks at least 6 feet apart when feasible, a recommendation from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
"By the time everyone's sitting, no one can move," O'Connor told "Good Morning America." "Kids have to wear masks as well as adults ... I use the word 'anxious' just because there's so much unknown."
With heightened health and safety concerns, educators across the nation have been protesting a return to in-person learning.
In Colorado, there's been more than 45,000 confirmed COVID-19 cases, and new daily cases reached a record high of at least 749 this week.
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Still, O'Connor's district intends to reopen mid-August. Parents will have the choice of sending kids to class full-time or opting for remote learning.
This year, O'Connor has 22 students on her roster and can only fit 20 desks in her classroom. Some of these kids likely will enroll in e-learning, and O'Connor will be teaching those students as well. Every teacher will have their own sanitizing products and be required to log each time they've cleaned, O'Connor explained.
On July 20, O'Connor shared the emotional video as she began the process of setting up her classroom. She concludes it by announcing how much she enjoys teaching, wants to be in the classroom, but feels she can't show her kids love in this way.
"I work in an area where not all the kids have a good home life," O'Connor said. "I know a lot of their stories and it's not all happiness and sunshine."
"I can't see their faces, I can't hug them anymore," she added. "I don't want to do an elbow bump. I want to give them a hug or a high-five because for so many kids, that's what they need."
O'Connor revealed her completed classroom setup in a follow-up video posted to her Facebook page, School Unmasked. She said her posts have ignited conversations with other teachers who are sharing their own feelings about returning to the classroom.
"My biggest hope is for people to support teachers," O'Connor said. "We are soldiers and this isn't our war. We're in a war we didn't create and we're doing what we're told. Understand, we're doing our best with very little."