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City school students will return on Monday

Students in Lawton Public Schools will return to the classroom Monday, but the district's teachers said they also will maintain a presence at the State Capitol.

Most Lawton teachers reported back to their classrooms Friday, using the time to prepare for the return of their students on Monday so they can finish the end of the 2017-2018 school year, said Lynn Cordes, communications director with Lawton Public Schools. But, faculty members said they also have a plan in place that will send a 98-member advocacy group to the Capitol each day, beginning Monday, to maintain a presence for legislators while keeping schools operational for students.

Public school students in Lawton have been out of class since April 2, the first day of a statewide walkout coordinated by the Oklahoma Education Association (OEA) and other education-advocacy groups. While that day already had been planned as a day off for students in Lawton schools, the nine days of missed classes since then will have to be addressed. The district had three days at its disposal and using those days means students will attend classes on Fridays in May rather than having them off, as initially planned in the school calendar.

But, that leaves the district having to address the instruction hours represented by six days of classes not held, with options that include additional time added to the school day or day(s) to the end of the school year.

Cordes said district administrators still are weighing a final decision, but indications are that time will be added to remaining school days to achieve the instructional hours mandated by the state. But, that decision hasn't yet been made and won't be implemented before all parents are notified, she said, emphasizing that Monday will be an instructional day of normal length for students. The Lawton Board of Education also will have a special meeting at noon Monday, Cordes said.

The decision to return to the classrooms Monday already has been made, district officials said.

"OEA started the walkout and OEA ended the walkout," said Superintendent Tom Deighan, of action the OEA announced Thursday.

The Lawton Constitution

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