Morton students head back to school on Tuesday with in-person learning

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MORTON, Ill. (WMBD) — While some school districts are making changes to back to school plans, students in Morton headed back to the classroom Tuesday.

“It’s still exciting. It’s her first day at school and you just kind of have to adapt to what’s going on in the world and make it a positive thing,” said Kris Goergen, father of a kindergartener at Ward Grundy Elementary School in Morton.

District leaders spent months planning for the return to school, with students in the classroom five days a week.

“Our goal is to stay in school all year long, that’s what we would really love to see happen for our kids and our community,” said Morton Unit School District 709 Superintendent Jeff Hill.

With her backpack and mask on, sixth-grader Samantha Deckert headed inside Ward Grundy Tuesday morning.

“I know it’s going to be uncomfortable, but like at least it’s protecting my face and stuff. It doesn’t really bother me that much,” said Deckert.

While she’s excited to see her friends, she’s also worried.

“I was really scared when we were going back because I have family members that can get the virus, and my brother can get it,” said Deckert.

In July, a district survey showed 95 percent of parents wanted their child in school in the fall.

“Really, an overwhelming majority of people wanted us to give in-person instruction a go here in the fall as safely and as normally as possible,” said Hill.

The district set forth guidelines: face coverings, temperature checks, social distancing, and daily sanitization.

“It seems like the school district is taking the necessary steps to keep the kids safe and we’ll just continue to go with their advice,” said Goergen.

The return to school comes with risks.

“I just hope like nothing bad happens and there’s not like an outbreak,” said Deckert.

District leaders said they’re prepared for what could happen.

“If we need to go remote, we have implemented some new technology,” said Hill.

Superintendent Hill said the community will have to work together to follow rules to help keep kids in class.

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