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U5 Back to School

French:  Chère communauté Unit 5

Spanish:  en Espanol 

English:  See below

Dear Unit 5 Community,

During the past several months, Unit 5 has worked on redesigning school procedures and our physical buildings to implement the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) and Centers for Disease Control (CDC) guidelines for reopening schools. We always knew it would be a challenge to open but Unit 5 followed the guidance of the State and worked diligently to offer parents a choice, including an in-person option. 

As other school districts across the nation opened and had to close within days because of positive cases it became evident that challenges were mounting. Over the last couple of weeks the Unit 5 staff have monitored local health metrics, consulted with the McLean County Health Department, and have continued to study the latest information regarding how school-age children are susceptible and can spread COVID. We have also seen an increase in positive COVID cases in McLean County, the State of Illinois, and across the country. 

As we worked through our plans and reviewed data from student learning choices, several significant issues emerged including, the inability to maintain social distancing in our buildings and the ability to adequately staff in person and online instruction. Based on these discussions and monitoring of local and national trends in COVID cases, Unit 5 has determined that we need to begin the 2020-21 school year with Remote Learning.

It is important to know that Remote Learning will look different than in the Spring. We wanted to get you this information as soon as possible. Specific details of the Remote Learning Plan will follow next week.

What does this mean: 

  • Students will begin the 2020-2021 school year on Monday, Aug. 24 fully remote.

  • Attendance will be taken. 

  • Assignments will be required and graded. 

  • Daily instruction and engagement will occur. 

  • ALL Unit 5 students will be instructed by Unit 5 teachers, from the school they are enrolled in, using Unit 5 curriculum. Students who were struggling about how they would take their honors, dual credit, and AP courses will be able to take those courses with Unit 5 teachers.  

  • Food service will be available

  • Unit 5 will continue in this format through the end of the first quarter (mid-October). 

  • The District will continue to evaluate local metrics, and updated information about COVID, including if school districts have successfully been able to provide in-person learning.  If we feel that we can safely bring students and staff back in mid-October we will offer a hybrid and online option for all students PreK-12.  A decision on this will be made by Oct. 1.

I want to emphasize this decision was not made lightly and we understand that the change to our plan will place challenges on our families. Organizations and social service agencies throughout our community are working on programming to provide child care to families in need. 

There is no decision that will please everyone, but in the end we believe that we must err on the side of caution and safety. We ask our community to work together to help us get our students back to in person learning. To do that we must get a handle on this virus. Please wear a mask, socially distance, and avoid large gatherings.

Again, a detailed plan of remote learning will go to parents early next week. You can also continue to follow updates on the district website:  

With Unit 5 Pride,

Dr. Weikle, 
Unit 5 Superintendent