Breaking News
More () »

Masks, distancing, one-way halls: Edwardsville heads back to school

"It's definitely different," mom Kayla Kutsch said of the new semester

EDWARDSVILLE, Ill. — Students filing into Edwardsville High School are coming for the first time this semester, but it's likely they won't be back anytime soon. Picking up books and laptops, they're some of the 200 students who chose virtual learning this semester.

But at every corner, there are signs that students are returning: one-way markers in the hallways, "out of order" messages on the drinking fountains, and reminders about masks.

"Coming in here this morning, we felt confident that we had a good idea of what we wanted to do and how we want to implement it," Principal Steve Stuart said. "It was really as smooth sailing as it could've been for a day like today."

Stuart said about 1,100 of Edwardsville High School's 2,400 students did come through for the first day of class Thursday morning. The other half will use the building Friday since they're using block scheduling to space out the student body. 

Edwardsville's youngest kids — those in kindergarten through fifth grade — have the option to return to in-person instruction five days a week.

"It's definitely different," mom Kayla Kutsch said of the new semester. 

Kutsch sent her two eldest kids off to school with masks, their bus assignments, and only some of their school supplies. The rest of their essentials will be transported in bundles. 

She said second-grader Kayden and first-grader Lilly understand why they're distancing, but it was important to her that the kids were in school to build social skills and learn discipline. They're also new to the district and want to find friends.

"I said, 'You're still going to be able to interact with each other, but you can't give hugs and you can't go and braid each other's hair like you want to,'" Kutsch said.

As Kutsch contemplates the rest of the semester, she hopes everyone stays healthy to remain in class and they don't have to transition to e-learning.

"It's a lot of nerves still, especially for the first day," Kutsch said.

5 On Your Side talked to multiple parents who chose the district's virtual option. Each reported the platforms operated as designed without any issues.


Before You Leave, Check This Out