Students and staff return to Freeport schools

Published: Aug. 31, 2020 at 5:44 PM CDT
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ROCKFORD, Ill. (WIFR) - The COVID-19 plan for the Freeport School District is in action, as students and staff make their way back to the classroom for the first time since March.

“Give me a thumbs up when you found it, do not click on it yet,” says a teacher at Blackhawk Elementary to her students.

Socially distant desks, lessons on a computer, and masks at all times highlight a unique and unusual experience for administrators, teachers, principals, and students.

“Normally you would see students working very closely in groups manipulating and playing games and talking,” says Principal at Blackhawk Elementary Stacey Kleindl. “There will be a little bit more when they turn and talk to their partner they’re going to have to project a little bit more because their partner’s six feet apart.”

At Blackhawk Elementary, classrooms hold anywhere from 10 to 16 students. Teachers use headsets and speakers to make sure their pupils can hear them. At Freeport High School classes take place in-person and on zoom at the same time.

“A lot of the students are happy to be back, they are happy to see each other, they are I think happy to be just kind of back in the building and back to some semblance of normal, but it is just as difficult for them as it is for us to kind of get used to this,” says teacher at Freeport High School James Winker.

Some parents say the plan in place does bring comfort to them, but their kids have concerns all their own.

“Is it safe? Will I get coronavirus? Will my classmates get coronavirus? Will my teachers get sick? How long will we be there? Are they going to send us home?” says parent Hank Fairman.

To attempt to ease some minds, Kleindl assures parents that she takes their children’s education and safety personally.

“I think of all the students like my own children,” says Kleindl. “When the parents are dropping their kids off they are entrusting me, and I hope that they know they are entrusting someone who views their child like my own.”

Visit our back to school and beyond tab to see the Freeport School District’s surviving to thriving plan.

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