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McHenry's District 15, District 156 preparing updates on learning plan options

McHenry Elementary School District 15 is seen Aug. 12 in McHenry.
McHenry Elementary School District 15 is seen Aug. 12 in McHenry.

McHenry High School District 156 and McHenry Elementary School District 15 both are preparing to provide updates on the possibility of returning students to classrooms for the first time since COVID-19 shut down in-person learning in the spring.

A special meeting is set for Oct. 6 for District 15 administrators to present recommendations on the path forward for learning plans amid the pandemic, Superintendent Alan Hoffman said at a board meeting Tuesday.

The board had previously told the district to operate fully remote schooling until Nov. 6, unless conditions changed that allowed an earlier return, Hoffman said.

He did not respond to follow-up questions on whether the recommendations might include hybrid learning options in October.

District 156 Superintendent Ryan McTague said officials will send out a message Friday to the school community discussing the health department’s recommended metrics. The district, he said, will “start developing potential options and timelines.”

McTague also did not specify whether hybrid learning models could be immediately put on the table but said that the district would move in conjunction with District 15, which feeds into it.

The announcements come as the McHenry County Department of Health prepared to release finalized metrics Wednesday designed to guide school districts in their decision-making on when to move between remote, fully in-person and hybrid learning plans.

Based on a draft of the McHenry County health department’s metrics reported this week by the Northwest Herald, the county as a whole had reached the recommended thresholds for moving to hybrid educational models featuring some in-person and some remote learning.

“It might vary from school to school how this is going to look,” McHenry County health department spokeswoman Lindsey Salvatelli said. She said moving to in-person learning might “not necessarily be achievable for everyone.”

Individual school leaders will need to consider the space available in their buildings and other factors when developing plans to move to hybrid or fully in-person learning, Salvatelli said.

“We will work with them if they have a peak in a particular area. We will try to help them look at different mitigation strategies,” Salvatelli said

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