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West Frankfort schools begin hybrid, in-person learning

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WEST FRANKFORT (WSIL) -- After extensive planning, schools in West Frankfort welcomed back students with hybrid in-person learning.

West Frankfort began their school plans in August with full remote learning through September 11th.

Superintendent Matt Donkin says the next steps were bringing students back to the classroom.

"We are meeting with our students from 8 to 11:30, 11:45, 12:00, depending on what grade level they're in for in-person learning and then they still have some remote time in the afternoon and Fridays will be remote," he said.

The school district faced challenges this past month including monitoring COVID-19 cases and removing mold from multiple buildings.

"We've changed our protocols to check more often going forward to make sure if we do see something, we can get to it before it's too big of a problem," he said.

Donkin says the first day was a success, adding that many students were already familiar with their teachers due to remote learning.

"Students do their facecoverings, are spaced out more than we've ever had. We've staggered some passing period times. We are sanitizing the rooms as students in the upper grade levels change classes, sanitizing surfaces," he said.

Donkin says there is still an option to switch back to full remote learning. So far 25% of students will be online for the fall.

"Starting full remote allowed us to do was focus on that and get through a lot of the bugs that the system--online platform that we hadn't used before," he said.

He says running these new plans will be a day-by-day task.

"We'll see if we need to make any tweaks. Also see how things once you get the first day out of the way, kind of some out on their own, try not to fix things that don't need fix yet."

Donkin says the schools have been approved to return to their meal program for students to have lunch after dismissal.

Maya Skinner

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