Urbana school and park districts considering partnership to offer off-site learning centers

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URBANA, Ill. (WCIA) — During Tuesday night’s board meeting, district leaders presented a framework for reopening schools during Phase 4 of the pandemic.

Although USD116 Superintendent Jennifer Ivory-Tatum recommended beginning the fall semester fully remote, officials said the school district has been communicating with the Urbana Park District about creating off-site learning centers for hybrid learning.

Mark Schultz, a spokesperson for the park district, said UPD has agreed to work with its legal counsel to review the Intergovernmental Agreement with USD 116. The park district’s board hopes to vote in August or September to allow three facilities – Phillips Recreation Center, Anita Purves Nature Center and Brookens Gym – to serve as the learning centers for students in the hybrid learning plan during their distance learning days.

“The park district is still working through the legal issues of this agreement,” Schultz stated. “However it is the park district’s intent to partner with the school district on this very important need.”

School district officials said the groups intend to create separate exits and entrances for school students utilizing the centers so that they do not mix with the general public. The off-site learning centers would not be available while the school district is fully remote.

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