Cary School District 26 to expand in-person learning starting April 7

Updated 3/24/2021 11:20 AM

Students in Cary School District 26 will see more in-person learning starting April 7.

Under a plan approved this month by the school board, students in first through fifth grade will attend school in-person four days a week with remote instruction on Wednesdays, up from two days a week in-person currently.


Cary Junior High School students will have in-person instruction five days a week, with each day split between in-person and remote learning, according to the plan. Currently, junior high students spend two full days in-person and three full days remote.

Kindergartners will see no change in their schedule as they are already in-person five days a week, with half the students going in the morning and the other half in the afternoon.

Extending the amount of time students are in school will cost about $50,500 for more personal protective equipment, desk shields and the addition of more midday bus routes and drives, although these expenses are covered by federal COVID-19 relief money District 26 received.

Superintendent Brian Coleman told the school board Monday that the district is continuing to work on the new plan: This week principals will work on placements for students who are changing program schedules, and the district will begin preparing the building for students when they return from spring break.

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Temperature checks of students are no longer required by the Illinois Department of Public Health or Illinois State Board of Education, per guidance released by the two entities earlier this month.

District 26 has been doing these temperature checks every morning and will continue to do so this week, Coleman said. But after spring break, schools no longer will be taking students' temperatures when they come in the building but still will require self-screening.

District 26's spring break runs from March 29 until April 5. April 6 is scheduled as a blended remote learning day so staff can prepare to have students come back with the new learning model.

The expanded in-person learning model will officially begin April 7, Coleman said.

During public comment at a school board meeting, one parent expressed disappointment with the new learning plan for the junior high school.

While she said she understands the issue of spacing students at lunchtime, she would still like to see junior high students back in-person full time and suggested they eat outside or in empty classrooms.

"We can make this work," she said.

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