District 156 pushes hybrid learning to second semester

As COVID cases rise in McHenry County and the state returns to Tier 3, MCHS decides to keep students out of the building and encourage staff to work from home

The+sun+rises+over+West+Campus%27s+south+entrance+on+November+20.+As+Thanksgiving+approaches%2C+the+number+of+COVID+cases+in+McHenry+County+has+reached+a+new+high%2C+causing+the+district+pause+all+students+coming+into+the+building.

Kyla Henige

The sun rises over West Campus’s south entrance on November 20. As Thanksgiving approaches, the number of COVID cases in McHenry County has reached a new high, causing the district pause all students coming into the building.

Kennedy Tetour, Arts and Entertainment Editor

On Friday, superintendent Ryan McTague announced that the District 156 will move to hybrid starting second semester on January 20, 2021. 

The announcement states, “We wanted to provide our school community with a concrete and realistic timeline of when we can potentially transition to a hybrid model from a safety, operational, and instructional perspective and, unfortunately, it will not be this semester.”  

This announcement has come after months of on-again, off-again plans to return to both campuses for in-person learning. Many students in hands-on classes, such as choir or graphics, have already had the opportunity to return to the building for class. 

In an email sent out to the community on November 20, McTague announced that all in-person learning and activities such as this would be paused until at least December 7. “Given the sharp increase in COVID cases and potential spike after the Thanksgiving holiday,” he wrote, “we have already put our plan into motion to pause all students coming into the building for the next two weeks starting next Monday,”

MCHS has been trying to move to a hybrid model of learning since late October, but the plan keeps getting pushed back due to the steady rise in COVID cases. 

“Unfortunately, with the new ISBE and public health recommendations the window to transition to a hybrid learning model before the end of the first semester has come to a close.” McTague says regarding the possible hybrid learning this semester.

McTague’s announcement includes limiting teachers and other faculty from entering the building. For two weeks, faculty will be given the option to work from home based on state guidance handed down by Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker last week.

Along with the pause on in-person activity, McTague announced that MCHS will be adding built-in support time for students who need extra help. He states, “Next week, we will share our new Digital Learning Schedule with embedded interventions and academic systems of support. This schedule will begin after we return from Thanksgiving break, starting Wednesday, Dec. 2.”

McTague encourages people to “Keep the faith” and he says that he is confident that we will be able to return to the building for hybrid learning within 2021.