District 50 will start the year remotely

  • Woodland Middle School in Gurnee and all other District 50 buildings will be closed to students to start the school year.

    Woodland Middle School in Gurnee and all other District 50 buildings will be closed to students to start the school year. Bob Susnjara | Staff Photographer, 2017

Updated 7/30/2020 9:13 PM

The Woodland Elementary District 50 buildings will remain closed to students -- at least initially -- this fall as the district pursues a learning-from-home model approved unanimously Thursday night by the school board.

Superintendent Lori Casey said everyone wishes students were returning in person and is hopeful they will soon.


"We're going to do what we can do based on the numbers and what we feel is best and safe," Casey said during the meeting, which was conducted via Zoom.

Casey said if the district determines in the future that students can attend classes in person, officials will give the community plenty of notice. She said the district makes decisions based on science and health department data.

Until that day comes, all students will be learning from home under what district officials called "Remote Learning 2.0."

Casey noted that remote instruction in the spring was an emergency response to the pandemic and as such there were hiccups. This time, teachers and administrators have had the benefit of months of planning.

"We will do this and we will do a very good job of it," Casey said.

The details of the plan will be revealed in the coming weeks, but school officials said they are considering having every student in class virtually from around 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Casey said teachers are working on how to vary their methods so students aren't in front of computers all day, but officials said live instruction from teachers will be the focus.

Casey said the district has also been working to provide social and emotional support for students during remote learning.

"Families aren't going through just this," Casey said, adding that many district families also are struggling financially because of the pandemic. "We know more than ever the social and emotional learning component is important, and teachers will be checking in and seeing if kids are OK."

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