Health District recommends Champaign County schools move to hybrid

The Champaign Health District is recommending all county schools move to a hybrid learning model through the end of the year due to the coronavirus pandemic, according to a letter to superintendents from Health Commissioner Gabe Jones.

“This proposal is set forth in hopes of mitigating further spread of COVID-19 in Champaign County and improving staffing and learning capacity within all of our schools,” Jones stated. “It is our hope that this recommendation can keep teachers teaching and students learning in the least disruptive manner possible.”

Due to the health district’s recommendation, Urbana City, Graham Local, Triad Local and Mechanicsburg Exempted Village Schools announced that they are transitioning to hybrid learning for all students from Nov. 30 to Dec. 18, which is between the end of Thanksgiving break and the end of winter break.

“There is a concern that with the increasing positive COVID-19 cases in the county and the upcoming holiday that we will see an additional increase of the spread of the virus. Implementing hybrid instruction will allow us to increase the social distancing within the school building,” Urbana Superintendent Charles Thiel said in a release.

All districts will have two groups of students who attend school in-person twice a week, with some attending every other Friday. The other days will be used for online learning.

“This model will allow us to reduce the number of daily exposures and continue to support maximum distancing, masking and hand hygiene in order to slow the spread in our community while educating students,” Mechanicsburg Superintendent Danielle Prohaska said.

Jones stated that the health district will continue to monitor the situation and make recommendations based off data and school feedback.

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