Education and Schools | WGLT

Education and Schools

Picture of University High School
Staff / WGLT

The Illinois State University Lab Schools are following Unit 5 and District 87 in telling parents and families the fall term will start with online classes.

Barry Hitchins and Amy Roser at Unit 5 school board meeting
Izzy Carroll / WGLT

Now that Bloomington-Normal's public school districts have decided to begin the school year with remote learning, parents and educators have begun to scramble to arrange for child care for working parents.

Corn Crib
Eric Stock / WGLT

Unit 5 canceled Saturday's long-delayed high school graduation ceremonies at the Corn Crib, citing inclement weather.

School buses lined up
J. Scott Applewhite / AP

Bloomington-Normal parents say they’re feeling anxious, guilty, and very uncertain as they begin to make decisions about whether to send their kids back to school or keep them home this fall.

Students sitting on grass on ISU Quad
Illinois State University

Illinois State University's largest-ever fundraising campaign surpassed its target by $30 million.

Person cleans a classroom
Charlie Neibergall / AP

The union that represents Unit 5 teachers is calling on the district to revise its just-released pandemic reopening plan to address "hundreds of unanswered questions" and then "move forward in a way that reduces risk and keeps students and staff safe."

Bloomington High School
Eric Stock / WGLT

District 87 Superintendent Barry Reilly said he understands the hesitation teachers have about returning to the classroom next month in the midst of a pandemic.

Volunteers packing backpacks while wearing masks
Jan Meadows

An annual back-to-school party for thousands of children in Bloomington-Normal won't happen this year.

At least not in the same way.

LeRoy Elementary School
Facebook/LeRoy Elementary School

School districts have surveyed families to get a better idea of how to plan for the upcoming school year, knowing the pandemic could easily change those plans.

Linda Foster

On Thursday night, the Bloomington-Normal chapter of the NAACP began its monthly town hall meeting with a sobering statistic.

Ames Library at Illinois Wesleyan University
Staff / WGLT

Illinois Wesleyan University trustees agreed Thursday to eliminate three more majors as part of a long-term restructuring that school leaders say will strengthen its foundation as a liberal arts institution.

UPDATED 3:30 p.m. | A Ridgeview music teacher was charged Thursday with sexually assaulting at least two former high school students—including one girl who he allegedly “dated” while she was still a student.

Olympia water tower
Olympia Schools

The Olympia School District in rural McLean County plans to bring students back to school every day this fall—albeit for shorter days caused by limits on bus capacity.

Ames Library at Illinois Wesleyan University
Staff / WGLT

Hundreds of Illinois Wesleyan University graduates are closely watching this week’s expected Board of Trustees decisions on the future direction of the institution. A variety of potential cuts and changes will be considered.

Distributing meals
Facebook / United Way of McLean County

A coalition of public and private partners that sprang into action with grab-and-go meals and housing assistance after COVID-19 hit is now turning its attention to filling gaps in child care when schools reopen.

 Julie Emig
Ryan Denham / WGLT

The McLean County Museum of History has hired Julie Emig as its new executive director.

Students, faculty and alumni join a march
Breanna Grow / WGLT

Few rallies include performances by a brass ensemble. 

Jayana Fennell and father Louis Fennell Jr.
Jon Norton / WGLT

Bloomington native Jayana Fennell is a Normal Community West High School graduate. She’s currently a junior telecommunications major for video production at Ball State University in Muncie, Indiana. She’s also minoring in French. She spoke with Jon Norton for WGLT's series Living Black in Bloomington-NormalContact us if you'd like to be featured in the series.

Christopher Belt with son Louis
Jon Norton / WGLT

Christopher Belt is an English teacher at Normal Community High School. The Normal native spoke with Jon Norton for the WGLT series Living Black in Bloomington-NormalContact us if you'd like to be featured in the series.

Kids run on playground
Elise Amendola / AP

McLean County school districts have a lot of decisions to make now that the state has released its guidelines for reopening. But one thing they agree on: Requiring kids to wear a mask all day every day at school is going to be a challenge.

Justin L. Fowler / The State Journal-Register via AP, Pool

Students will be allowed to return to K-12 schools for in-person instruction in August, state officials said Tuesday as they released guidelines for how that will work.

Unit 5

The Unit 5 school district will buy nearly 8,000 tablets, laptops and Chromebook computers and try to get them into the hands of students and teachers for the new school year.

Crews working on bucket lift
Eric Stock / WGLT

Many buildings in Bloomington-Normal have largely sat idle for months during the pandemic, but maintenance crews still have work to do and in some cases they've taken advantage of the time to work ahead.

Students at a computer
April Schermann / Courtesy

Normal Community West High School students and their teacher say the first year participating in a new program aimed at getting more girls interested in cybersecurity was a success—capped off by a strong showing in a national competition.

Students standing in front of Ames Library
Illinois Wesleyan University

Illinois Wesleyan President Georgia Nugent said the university is preparing for at least some online instruction in the fall because of the pandemic that has kept the campus closed since March.

Heartland Community College campus

Heartland Community College has announced plans to bring some students back to campus in the fall and offer more online interaction with faculty.

Mark Jontry
Ryan Denham / WGLT

Peoria Public TV and regional offices of education in central Illinois are starting a distance learning television channel. 

District 87 headquarters
Eric Stock / WGLT

District 87 is looking to issue $15 million in working cash bonds to cushion the financial impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“In anticipation of the uncertainty, we are looking for make sure we have adequate funds in the bank to be able to cover our expenses,” said Colin Manahan, the district's chief financial and facilities officer.“We’re just concerned about cash flow. We are concerned about the ability to collect property tax revenue. We are concerned about being able to meet payroll expenses.”

Jordan Holmes
Jordan Holmes / Courtesy

University leaders across the country face a difficult decision in the coming weeks about whether they can safely reopen their campuses in the fall.

If the answer is no, college students will have a choice of their own.

Ronald Howard drawing on a computer screen
Ronald Howard

School closings caused by COVID-19 have pushed nearly all learning online.