Harvard School District 50 announces plans to return to in-person learning by mid-March

Special education program to move to in-person Jan. 25, other in-person opportunities to roll out in weeks leading up to March 15, superintendent says

Plans are well underway for all Harvard School District 50 students to return to in-person learning by March 15, Superintendent Corey Tafoya announced Thursday.

In a video posted to Twitter on Thursday, Tafoya posed with Harvard’s life-size cow statue “Harmilda” and outlined general plans to have all students return to in-person learning by mid-March on a building-by-building basis. Each of the district’s five schools was fully remote as of Friday.

“Those plans really are heavy and underway,” Tafoya said in the video.

The superintendent didn’t go into detail about when certain buildings might resume all in-person learning. Those announcements, he said, will be delivered directly to parents via email and shared online at cusd50.org.

District staff currently are designing “an incremental and intentional plan” for students to return to the buildings, increasing in-person opportunities each week leading up to March 15, Tafoya said in a letter posted to the district’s website.

“The only thing that is certain at this point is we do have some special ed programs beginning in the building on Jan. 25,” Tafoya said.

Then, starting March 15, all students will have the option to return to in-person learning, he said in the letter. The district will continue to offer a remote option through the remainder of the year if students choose.

If the district makes the move to full in-person learning, that would make it one of only a handful of districts in McHenry County to go that route instead of a hybrid model.

“Returning all students to their school buildings is an ambitious goal,” Tafoya said in the letter. “It depends on improvement of local health metrics, ability to follow established safety protocols and vaccination distribution for our staff.”

The district also plans to resume athletics in some capacity once it receives word from the IHSA, Tafoya said in the video. News on those sports was announced at noon Friday by Gov. JB Pritzker.

“Trust us that when decisions are made we’re going to share with you right away,” he said. “We look forward to sharing that all with you as soon as that’s made official.”

Katie Smith

Katie has reported on the crime and courts beat for the Northwest Herald since 2017. She began her career with Shaw Media in 2015 at the Daily Chronicle in DeKalb, where she reported on the courts, city council, the local school board, and business.