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Madison County football players step in to help with back-to-school set up after staff members contract COVID

Published: Aug. 17, 2020 at 10:06 PM EDT|Updated: Aug. 17, 2020 at 10:08 PM EDT
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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) - Back-to-school preparations are underway inside Lee Elementary School in Madison County, where they have had several staff members come down with COVID-19.

Thanks to a group of Cowboys, the school is ready to welcome back students.

Despite being the three-time defending state champions, Madison County High School head football coach Mike Coe is putting members of the team to work. And not just on the field.

The game has changed for schools across the world.

Kindergarten teacher Heather Douglas has been re-working her playbook since June.

“Definitely the shields are innovative and different,” she said. “We’ve just really had to up-the-ante this year.”

She’s spent countless hours bracing her classroom for as little physical interaction as possible.

Lee Elementary Principal Amanda Brown says 10 rooms will serve 160 students who have chosen to come back.

“We are a little nervous,” she said. “Just the...what the new way of school will look like this year.”

The daunting task of preparing got even more complicated in the weeks leading up to the re-opening.

“Our staff is down right now,” Brown continued. “Some out because of having to quarantine or some actually sick with the virus.”

Enter: A group of hometown heroes to the rescue.

“Whenever coach calls us and is like, ‘Guys, I need help,’ or ‘The school needs help,’ we on it!” said Madison County defensive end and fullback Gregory Mitchell.

Members of the Mad Co. football team spent their summer days lending a helping hand.

“I wake up around 7 a.m., have practice around 8. We usually end around 10:#0, get something to eat and come out here and help,” said Jeremy McKnight, a defensive end and tight end for the Cowboys.

They’ve been pitching in; cleaning windows, vacuuming the floors and moving furniture.

It’s all a big help for the small school.

“Our head custodian is out right now due to the virus, so we only have our one part-time custodian, so it was a big help to him,” Douglas said.

And a great lesson for the young men.

“Giving back to the community for everything they do for us on and off the field and try to be a leader for my peers and everyone around me,” Ke’Shaun Mitchell, Cowboy linebacker, said.

Teaching them it’s good to be a champion both on and off the field.

The Madison County School District will head back to class next week.

Copyright 2020 WCTV. All rights reserved.

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