• Unit 5 has consistently shared with families that we are committed to offering in-person instruction “when health and safety conditions enable us to do so.”

    We were excited to be able to welcome back some of our students this fall, while also connecting and engaging with our remote learners. But when we went to a hybrid schedule, we said families should be prepared in the event we need to pause in-person instruction and return most students to remote learning.

    Things have changed dramatically in our community during the past several weeks. There has been an alarming rise of COVID-19 cases in McLean County. The Illinois Department of Public Health issued new guidance urging people to stay at home as much as possible, and the McLean County Health Department reached out to Unit 5 to share the urgency of the local COVID situation and suggested we rethink whether we should be in person. 

    So, effective Wednesday, Nov. 18, Unit 5 is making the difficult decision to transition to remote learning for ALL students. Students will not be in attendance on Wednesday, Nov. 18 to allow teachers and staff time to prepare for this change. At this time a pause to in-person instruction will be in place until Monday, Dec. 7. 

    Here is a link to a calendar for during the pause.

    Please know that we are taking this action to protect the health and safety of our students, staff, and families. We know that this decision will please some and anger others but health and safety must be the priority.

    In the past two weeks we’ve had  63+ student positive COVID cases and 28+ staff positive COVID cases. In addition, we had 373+ students who were newly quarantined as a result of being a close contact, in addition to 145+ staff members. When we started this process, we stated that we needed to be in a phase for 10 days before making a change. Today the IDPH released metrics for last week, November 1-7.  These metrics fall within Stage 1 of our Return to School Plan, which indicates that all students would be remote. We have closely monitored this week’s metrics and it is clear that they have not improved.  We now have more than 10 consecutive days of data that no longer supports us remaining in hybrid instruction. Here is a link to local and district metrics. Since we are in Stage 1, this will also include a pause of all activities & athletics. 

    We hope to be able to return to hybrid learning very soon but this will depend on the status of COVID-19 and the guidance we receive from state and local officials.  

    WHAT DOES THIS MEAN FOR EARLY LEARNING STUDENTS?

    Young children are inquisitive, curious and eager to learn. More than ever, parents and educators should be aware of the importance of life experiences, world views, family influences, linguistic background, and cultural traditions as valid sources of children’s knowledge and learning. This is vital knowledge to make stronger home school connections and incorporate relevant learning experiences. The development of positive and caring relationships with adults and other children is of utmost importance. We recommended the use of methods and strategies that support a strength-based approach and encourages students to learn and grow in all developmental domains through joyful, hands-on, play-based, and engaged learning.

    Remote learning will follow the same schedule as in-person as much as possible.

    • Educators will provide instruction during sessions: Morning: 7:45-10:15 Afternoon: 11:45 am-2:15pm   Full-Day: 7:45-2:15

    • Attendance will be taken daily

    • Special Education and ELL services will be provided

    Curriculum Delivery

    • Instruction will be delivered using Creative Curriculum Cloud via MyTeachingStrategiesTM Family portal.

    • Additionally instruction for social-emotional instruction using (Positive Solutions through Pyramid Model) will support students and families. Early Learning educators & parent partnerships are vital in remote learning.

    • There will be a heavy emphasis on supporting and connecting with the parents.

    Early Learning Student/Family/Caregiver Expectations

    • Daily login to the MyTeachingStrategiesTM Family portal or app for lessons.

    • Attending daily class meetings/lessons via Google Meets

    • If a student cannot attend the Google Meet session, the parent can submit a photo or other communication regarding the student completing one of the activities each day to count for attendance (via MyTeachingStrategiesTM Family portal).

    • Engage with educators for a partnership in learning

    WHAT DOES THIS MEAN FOR ELEMENTARY SCHOOL STUDENTS?

    The information below is intended for our current in-person students and families.  The information and changes below apply to these students as we transition to remote learning.  No changes are being made for elementary students who are already fully remote..

    Instruction

    • Students will stay with their current hybrid teacher

    • Educators will provide instruction between the hours of 7:45 am - 2:10 pm

    • Teachers will provide you with the schedule early next week

    • In most cases, student schedules will be similar to their current in person schedule. This will allow for a seamless transition to in-person learning. 

    • Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday there will be up to 2.5 hours of synchronous instruction and 2.5 hours of asynchronous activities

    • Instruction on Wednesdays will remain the same from 8:45 - 10:25 (Combination of small and whole group with up to 3 hours and 40 minutes of asynchronous activities)  

    • There will be additional daily optional synchronous opportunities beyond the 2.5 hours such as check in times with teachers if there are student questions

    Curriculum and Instruction

    • Communication will be sent through Infinite Campus Email, Seesaw and Google Classroom

    • Instruction will be provided in reading, writing, word study, math, and social-emotional learning

    • Social Studies and Science will be integrated into other subjects and provided as asynchronous activities

    • Instruction will be aligned to our district curriculum including our scope and sequence

    • Students will participate in Art, Music, IMC and Physical Education classes

    Attendance

    • In order to be marked present for the day, students will need to do one of the following:

      • Attend synchronous instruction with the teacher and complete asynchronous assignments 

      • Communicate with the teacher and/or school regarding alternative plans to complete assigned schoolwork asynchronously. 

    WHAT DOES THIS MEAN FOR JUNIOR HIGH & HIGH SCHOOL STUDENTS?

    Instruction

    • Educators will provide instruction between the hours of 8:30 am - 3:30 pm for the high schools and 8:45 am - 3:45 pm for the middle schools.

    • All junior high and high school students will follow their regular schedule with their current teachers.

    • Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday will follow the traditional school day 

      • Each class will meet synchronously for a minimum of 20 minutes daily. Teachers will let students know if the whole class needs to meet or if only certain students or groups of students need to meet synchronously.

      • Teachers will record lessons or create an alternative version for students who are unable to connect during synchronous instruction.

    • Wednesdays - students will follow the established condensed synchronous schedule.

    • Teachers may assign asynchronous activities/assignments tied to previous instruction and/or to prepare for the next remote learning day.

    Curriculum and Instruction

    • Communication will be sent through Infinite Campus Email and/or Google Classroom.

    • Instruction will be aligned to our district curriculum including our scope and sequence.

    Attendance

    • In order to be marked present for the day, students will need to do one of the following:

      • Attend synchronous instruction with the teacher and complete asynchronous assignments.

      • Communicate with the teacher and/or school regarding alternative plans to complete assigned schoolwork asynchronously.

    We will continue to keep families updated. Please continue to work together to prevent  the spread of the virus, making sure to wear your mask and social distance.