District 155 high schools begin in school learning with reduced capacity amid COVID-19 pandemic

CRYSTAL LAKE (WLS) -- Crystal Lake Central High School is one of four high schools in Community High School District 155 that began a hybrid model Wednesday morning after several weeks of remote learning.

"It's easier to do in school in my opinion because you can understand the teachers easier," said Tyler Cruz, high school junior.

"I liked learning at home, but I definitely think in school, there will be a lot less procrastination," said Avery Carlson, high school freshman.

The students are divided up by alphabets and the number of students attending in person has been reduced.

"It's important to remember our high schools are built for 1800 to 2000 students. We are averaging right now about 500, so just the sheer volume is diminished substantially," Supt. Steve Olson said.

Reducing the volume of students makes many parents feel comfortable with sending their kids back to school.

"I have two freshmen, and we are excited for them to get to experience high school a bit, just a couple days a week, and I feel like the safety protocols are in place for it to be successful," said Lexi Carlson, parent.

"There was only seven people in my first-hour class, so it was small but most classes about 10 people," Avery added.

While COVID-19 cases have recently increased in McHenry County, the school district works hand-in-hand with the health department to follow the metrics. Depending on the metrics, the superintendent said he is prepared to return to all remote learning like other suburban districts if necessary.

"It's not going to be in one day and out the next day. It's more like a seven-day rolling average that we'll be looking at to make some of those decisions," Olson added.

School administrators are pleased that the first day at all four district high schools went smoothly.
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