Cary District 26 considers expanding in-person learning

Updated 3/10/2021 8:46 AM

The Cary School District 26 superintendent plans on recommending an expansion of in-person learning during a special board meeting March 15.

Students at District 26 currently are in a hybrid learning model, with students split into two groups that alternate two days a week in person with everyone learning remotely on Wednesdays, a setup that has earned some pushback from parents as other area school districts expanded their in-person time.


The district's Return to School Task Force, created to find safe ways to get students back in the classroom after COVID-19 made all schools transition to remote learning last year, has continued to meet, Superintendent Brian Coleman said in an email.

The task force, made up of administrators, teachers, and support staff, has reviewed and discussed learning models from other school districts, as well as models other schools plan on moving to after their spring breaks, he said. It has also discussed additional mitigation strategies that could be implemented to improve the safety and health of students and staff.

"The Task Force continues to discuss and narrow down the models that will be the most feasible and effective for the district as we look to increase in-person instruction," Coleman said.

Other area school districts, including Algonquin-based Community Unit Community Unit District 300 and Crystal Lake Elementary School District 47, have increased students' in-person learning time or announced plans to in recent weeks.

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Last week, District 47 announced students in kindergarten through fifth grades are set to attend full days of in-person classes starting April 5. Middle school students will remain in a hybrid model.

During a Cary Village Board meeting last week, Mayor Mark Kownick said he has received emails regarding District 26's plans, but noted the village does not have jurisdiction over the school board.

"These are unprecedented times and we have to make sure we are dealing with fact-based decisions," Kownick said. "We have offered our help and our guidance and anyway that we can to help them make the best decision for our community and our kids."

Village Administrator Jake Rife said he also reached out to Coleman, to let him know the village's administration, staff and police are there for them if any assistance is needed.

"They're very appreciative of us reaching out," Rife said.

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