This is an evolving story.
Champaign Unit 4 Schools Superintendent Dr. Susan Zola announced on Wednesday evening that the district will only offer remote learning through the first quarter of the new school year.
This was a distinct shift from earlier plans, which had some students engaging in in-person learning options, but had met with resistance.
“The health, wellness, and safety of our Unit 4 Community is one of our top priorities, especially now. As we continue to receive feedback, we’ve made the difficult decision to engage in Distance Learning through the first quarter of the 2020–21 school year.
“We fully recognize that this may be distressing news for many students and families but we’re here to provide support and guidance as we also learn to adapt to this new learning framework.
“During this Distance Learning period, we’ll continue to assess the state of COVID-19. By the end of September, we’ll make another decision whether to continue Distance Learning when the second quarter begins on October 19th or begin to transition to In-Person Learning.
“We understand that the next several weeks will feel overwhelming. We also must acknowledge that our most vulnerable students will need us to support equitable access to Distance Learning. Addressing these inequities is critical, and we’re committed to ensuring access for all students.
“As our re-entry plan is implemented, then develops into an everyday routine, we will face difficult challenges that require innovative problem solving and agile leadership. Through all of it, we will keep our Unit 4 community informed. Because, above all, we’re powerfully committed to providing the guidance, knowledge, skills—and safety—for all students to succeed.”
-Dr. Susan Zola, Superintendent, Champaign Unit 4 Schools
Urbana Schools Move Back Hybrid Learning Date, Tentatively
On Tuesday, Urbana schools also announced a plan that will have the district start completely in remote learning.
Due to rising numbers in Champaign-Urbana, Urbana School District superintendent Dr. Jennifer Ivory-Tatum announced at a board meeting on Tuesday night her recommendation that the district start all students with remote learning.
The district’s hybrid learning program, which has students attending twice per week, wouldn’t start until Sept. 8 at the earliest – and that date would be evaluated continuously. The date was not voted upon by the Board of Education, however, and remains a recommendation.
“We do not want to move into in-person so quickly,” Ivory-Tatum said Tuesday, during a four-hour meeting broadcast on Facebook Live and now available on YouTube.
Ivory-Tatum said moving into a hybrid learning schedule would depend the rate of positive transmissions in the city of Urbana; another factor to be considered would be the ability of the district to access SHIELD testing, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign’s saliva-based testing program.
“There are voices on the committee that want us to say that we’re not coming back until Oct. 1 or the end of the first quarter,” she said. “I’m not ready yet to push us out that far, only because I want to continue to monitor these numbers and I don’t want to miss out on the opportunity to get our students in our schools to have in-person learning.”
Read our back to school series:
Part 1 — Back to School: School Physicals Required for Illinois Schoolchildren
Part 2 — Back to School: Immunizations Required for Illinois Schoolchildren
Part 3 — Back to School: Champaign-Urbana Area School Registration Information
Part 4 — Back to School: Champaign-Urbana Area School Start Dates
Part 5 — Back to School: Dental, Vision Exams Required for Illinois Schoolchildren
Part 6 — Back to School: Top Nine Tips to Prepare for a Return to School Routine
Post 7 — Back to School: Eight Things You Didn’t Know You Needed