For the first time in a year, all the schools in the Logan County and Russellville Independent districts were at close to full capacity on Monday.

Both districts opened up their high schools this week for all students to have in-person instruction. Students that wished to remain on virtual learning are still able to do so, however. All other students will be in class four days a week — Monday through Thursday.

“I was at the high school in the morning and saw all the students back and they seemed excited and ready to be back,” Logan County superintendent Paul Mullins said.

Russellville Independent superintendent Larry Begley experienced the same thing at RHS.

“I understand that these are nervous times,” Begley said. “But when I was in the building Monday morning, I was tickled to death to see kids excited to see other kids and teachers excited to see their students,” Begley said. “I am feeling much more comfortable than I did on Friday — because I wondering how it would go and but I was really, really relieved after I left there Monday morning.”

Both high schools had been either been on hybrid schedules or fully virtual for the entire school year until this week.

Logan County moved its five K-8 schools to the four-day schedule two weeks ago before taking the same steps with the high school.

“We’ve had a very uneventful two weeks as far COVID is concerned,” Mullins said. “But as far as instruction and engagement — it has been a very successful two weeks. Really happy to be able to get all our students back in the buildings. We will hopefully finish the year really strong.”

That couldn’t have been done without everyone following the CDC and state guidelines for returning to school safely during the pandemic, however.

“I’ve witnessed that in all the schools, between the custodial staff, teachers, students and administration — they are willfully complying with the guidelines because they’re just excited to be back,” Mullins said.

Begley said that when he was at the high school on Monday, everyone was being respectful of the guideliness.

“I didn’t see anybody who didn’t have a mask on or infringing on anybody’s personal space,” he said. “The teachers didn’t have to be out in the hallway telling students to put on their masks, because they were taking ownership of it. That was really good to see.”

Russellville installed new plexiglass dividers in the lunchroom, which was one of the last pieces to allow for a return to full in-person classes for middle and high school students.

“I was really glad that we were able to get those installed,” Begley said. “That will allow the kids to sit together and communicate during lunch, but still have that barrier in place.”

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