Indiana Dept. of Education hosts webinar for school leaders to help prepare for fall semester

Education

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. — We’re learning more about how schools plan to re-open and most importantly, keep kids safe in the fall. State Superintendent Jennifer McCormick hosted a webinar for school leaders to weigh in on the guidelines announced Friday.

It’s a complicated process and every district could look different when school is back in session.

“We’re trying to make the least amount of change as possible,” said McCormick.

Educators from across the state tuned in, as State Superintendent Jennifer McCormick stressed schools may not have all the answers, but they need to be as prepared as possible.

“She did provide some clarity in some areas,” said Jack Parker, the Superintendent of Mt. Vernon Community School Corporation.

Parker participated in the call. He’s hoping to come up with a re-opening plan for his district by the first of July.

“We’re doing everything we possibly can to get kids back in the classroom, but we also know not all kids are going to be able to come back,” said Parker, “We’ve got to develop our plans collaboratively, we know we need to work with our county health department, we need to work with our other area schools and the Superintendents in Hancock County.”

During the webinar, McCormick stressed it will be up to schools to work with local health departments on decisions about wearing masks, social distancing and protocols if kids or staff were to become sick.

“The governor’s office is planning on purchasing 2 million masks for distribution from the department, how we target that – we’re still reviewing it,” said McCormick, “If your plan with your local health department says ‘no masks’ then that is up to you and your local health department.”

In Mt. Vernon, the district created a taskforce to help make the decisions.

“From custodians, cooks, teachers, we even have a high school student joining us on our task force, so we can develop the best plan possible for everybody,” said Parker.

And Lebanon Community School Corporation parents got a letter with a list of how they’re preparing (see below).

It includes communicating with other districts in Boone County, so the message and planning is consistent whenever students return.

“That may look a little different, it may be with a hybrid,” McCormick added, “But we’re trying to get back into session. We are encouraging social distancing obviously, to the best extent you can but we know for many of you it’s going to be difficult.

Parker added, “We know the need for our students is going to be even more diverse than it’s ever been.”

We reached out to several districts. Many say they’re not ready to release details, as they are very busy coming up with a plan for fall.

To read the guidelines outlined in the ‘IN-CLASS’ (Indiana’s Considerations for Learning and Safe Schools) guidance for schools, provided by the State Department of Education, click here.

To watch the webinar by Superintendent Jennifer McCormick, click here.

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