Elena Martinez gets ready to go to kindergarten class at Nyssa Elementary School. (The Enterprise/Les Zaitz)

NYSSA - The cars and SUVs pull up in the parking lot at Nyssa Elementary School and wait, often with an eager kindergartener pressed up against a passenger window.

Quickly, a school employee greets the kindergartener, aiming a touchless thermometer at the forehead, reading out loud the temperature.

Kindergarteners pull on their school packs and work a mask on their face. They check in with more employees, who log their attendance and then they scurry to find their teacher, waiting for them just outside the school front door.

In a matter of moments, the youngsters line up before their teacher, standing 6 feet apart, holding a string marked to tell them what 6 feet is.

At last, they march into the school, ready for two hours of time in an actual classroom, their attendance a testament to determined efforts by educators to get the children back face-to-face with teachers.

Nyssa Elementary welcomed back the kindergarteners on Monday, Oct. 12. They gather in classes of no more than 10, and in two sessions - one at 10 a.m. and a second at noon.

On Monday, Oct. 19, they were to be joined by up to 85 of the 93 enrolled first-grade students. The first graders will share the same schedule, heading into five classrooms. They also will continue at-home virtual learning/

Nyssa school leaders decided to bring back students in small groups although schools around Oregon generally can't hold classes in buildings under state standards for limiting exposure to Covid. State officials said Nyssa met all the requirements needed to bring the younger students back, a move educators say is essential for not only teaching but general development of young children.

Nyssa Elementary staffer Lori Ballou checks the temperature of Tinley Froerer as her mom, Breana Froerer and student Tate May watch the process. (The Enterprise/Les Zaitz)

Nyssa School staff member Mandy Esplin helps adjust a mask for Ethan Castro as he gets ready for kindergarten class. (The Enterprise/Les Zaitz)

Victor Trujillo watches as son Juan Trujillo gets a temperature check outside the school from Lori Ballou of the Nyssa School staff. (The Enterprise/Les Zaitz)

School staffers Ryan Moody and Raquel Duenas check students in for kindergarten at the school. (The Enterprise/Les Zaitz)

Carter Moody, Wyatt Olsen and Patch Beck line up to enter the building for class. (The Enterprise/Les Zaitz)

Curbside service is what it takes to get kindergarteners checked in at Nyssa Elementary School on Thursday, Oct. 15. School employees take temperatures, hand out masks and record attendance as part of the pandemic practices. (The Enterprise/Les Zaitz)

Holding a string marked at every 6 feet, kindergarteners head into Nyssa Elementary School on Thursday, Oct. 15. (The Enterprise/Les Zaitz)

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