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story.lead_photo.caption FILE -- Fort Smith School District Superintendent Terry Morawski speaks during a news conference regarding the district’s #OnTrack initiative at the Fort Smith Convention Center Tuesday, Dec. 15, 2020. (Arkansas Democrat-Gazette/Thomas Saccente)

FORT SMITH -- In-person attendance will be optional for the School District's K-12 students Friday and Tuesday.

The district announced the decision Wednesday, citing challenges of covering for absent teachers and school support staff members because of the coronavirus.

Students who regularly attend school in-person may either go to school or work remotely on those two days. Students will be marked present whether they are engaged in online learning or they are physically present at school. Every school employee will report to their respective workplaces and school buildings on these days, according to a district news release.

All K-12 students participating in the district's online learning programs will continue with their regular schedules. Preschool students will continue with in-person learning as scheduled, according to the release.

District transportation will operate normally. The child nutrition program will provide meals on site and grab-and-go meals at the regular times. Special events, such as athletic competitions, will continue as scheduled.

Monday is Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day, a scheduled holiday for students and teachers. On-site learning in school buildings will continue Wednesday.

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