Huntley School District 158 announced a new hybrid learning plan Friday that will be available to students in grades 6 through 12 beginning Nov. 2.
The announcement, which was made following a special meeting of the District 158 school board Thursday evening where the plan was approved, came just days before the district notified Conley Elementary School families of a new confirmed COVID-19 case.
The district has reported 16 cases across the district over the last two weeks, nine of which were among students, according to the district's dashboard.
Conley Elementary School Principal Rhonda Maciejewski referred questions to the district's spokesman. Multiple attempts to reach the spokeswoman Monday were unsuccessful.
The district is working with the McHenry County Department of Health to address all cases and is also conducting additional cleaning and sanitization; contact tracing; and notifying select staff members as needed to ensure health and safety, according to a letter sent Saturday to families.
Monday was the first day of hybrid learning for District 158 students in kindergarten through fifth grade, according to the district's elementary hybrid plan announced on Sept. 17.
At the start of November, middle and high school students who choose to participate in the new hybrid plan will be divided into four groups and will attend school in person for two full days every other week, according to the plan.
Students can choose to attend school in person on Mondays and Tuesdays or Thursdays and Fridays and will either begin the week of Nov. 2 or the following week,
While the plan only allows students two full, in-person school days every other week, it provides another option for families who may be unhappy with full-time remote learning. Siblings that attend the same school will be placed to go in for in-person learning on the same days.
"Our students and families, we've heard them ... they need and want more and in-person learning, we believe and we hope, can help with that," District 158 Superintendent Scott Rowe said in a presentation to the board Thursday.
Under the new plan, all district students in grades 6-12 will be fully remote on Wednesdays.
Once students pick which two days they will attend and which week they will start, their selections cannot be changed for the duration of hybrid learning, according to an overview of the plan.
Families must fill out the district's form stating whether or not they will participate in hybrid learning and return it by Oct. 21, according to the plan. Once enrolled in the plan, students can request to move back to remote learning at any time by contacting their school building's administrator.
Students will attend their classes on a block schedule and class sizes will be reduced. Face masks are required and all desks will be spaced apart as much as possible, according to the plan.
Each student will be required to fill out a health certification before attending school for in-person learning. Transportation will be provided on in-person learning days with a 50-student maximum on each bus.
Students in specialized education programs or other "targeted groups" will be eligible for expanded in-person attendance under the new plan, according to the announcement.
Families who wish to move from remote learning to the hybrid plan after the Nov. 2 start date will be accommodated, if possible, at the start of the next grading period, according to the plan.