McLean County Unit 5 School leaders ready for normal 2021-2022 academic year

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NORMAL, Ill. (WMBD) — Schools out for summer for McLean County Unit Five students; Thursday was the last day of school for the district in a year like no other.

Most kids in person, five days a week. Those are the plans for Unit Five’s schools come August. But they’re ready for a break after a year of adapting to the pandemic.

Dr. Kristen Weikle said Thursday was a day many in education were just “hopeful” would be a reality in August; most kids in person for the last day of school.

“I think August presented us with a lot of unknowns in regards to COVID. I’m extremely grateful and proud that we were able to have students back four to five days a week depending on their age,” Weikle said.

Weikle finishing up her first year in one of Central Illinois’ largest school districts in a year she said presented many new challenges.

“Like every district, I experienced as superintendent a lot of firsts and hopefully a lot of lasts as COVID is concerned,” Weikle said.

Weikle applauded faculty, staff, and families who have been adjusting this year as district leaders adjusted plans themselves.

“I couldn’t be more proud and really grateful for our staff. They were resilient just as our students and families were. And I know at times it was really challenging,” Weikle said.

The district will still be monitoring the COVID-19 situation with quicker testing for symptomatic students. Weikle said that means more in-person learning and less quarantining

The district returning most of its K-12 students to in-person schooling five days a week for the fall. Dr. Adam Zbrozek principal at Colene Hoose Elementary said it’s a “bittersweet” day, but was glad students had closure to this school year.

He’s ready for next year’s more normal looking school year.

“We’re looking forward to it. I think it will be wonderful to see all of the smiling faces coming back,” Zbrozek said.

Zbrozek said while the halls are empty for a few months at Colene Hoose he and teachers are looking forward to filled classrooms for the fall.

“While relationships can certainly be built in a virtual environment, it’s so much more meaningful in an in-person environment as well. Because you’re able to really read facial cues, body language, look at different ways we can interact with one another,” Zbrozek said.

The first day of school for the 2021-2022 school year is August 18th.

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