Woodland Elementary School District 50 will welcome more students back to the classroom for in-person learning beginning April 13, under a plan approved at a special school board meeting Wednesday.
"I'm super excited to present this tonight, because when I think about where we were a year ago tonight and where we are now, I feel like we've come through the really hard stuff and we're back on a really good track," Superintendent Lori Casey said.
Under the district's current hybrid plan, first- through eighth-grade students whose families choose in-person learning are divided into two groups -- Group A and Group B -- and attend in person Tuesday through Friday, every other week.
With the new plan, students in first through third grade will be able to attend Tuesday through Friday every week. Those currently in remote-only learning will not be able to resume in-person classes at this time, officials said.
For students in fourth through eighth grade, there is not enough space to combine Groups A and B while adhering to social distancing guidelines, so they will continue to attend every other week for now.
Officials said they will be searching for other ways to bring more of those students back for in-person learning and prioritizing those opportunities for students who are homeless or have special needs.
Fourth- through eighth-grade students currently in remote learning but requesting in-person learning will be added to a waitlist until a later date, if approved by their school's principal.
All students will continue to learn remotely on Mondays.
Breakfast and lunch will be served either in a cafeteria, gym or classroom, depending on space availability and the number of students.
Casey said April 13 was chosen as the date to bring back more students because it allow for some time after spring break to monitor the community's COVID-19 metrics.
"Our goal, again, is to get as many students back in person as safely (as) possible," she said.
While acknowledging that more consistency is good for students, Casey said it is a balancing act trying to get them back into the schools.
"It's my obligation to recommend any time we can get more students back into school to do that," she said.