By Ray King

Retiring Watson Chapel School District Superintendent Dr. Jerry Guess said Friday that some of the students who chose to attend classes virtually during the first semester are coming back for-in person instruction.

Guess said the parents of a lot of those students who are still attending class virtually are fearful of COVID-19 and said he while he understands that fear, he believes Governor Asa Hutchinson has laid out plans and procedures that will create a safe environment.

He also said students who are not receiving in-person instruction are contributing to budget shortfalls for not only his district, but districts throughout the state.

The district’s enrollment of 2,150 students is a decline of about 75 compared to last year and Guess said a lot of that decline has to do with COVID.