INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. — On October 5, students in kindergarten through third grade in the Indianapolis Public Schools system can return to the classroom. The district begins its phased approach to welcoming students back to school.
“We know for those younger learners, the idea of routine and actually the in-person learning is really important to that developmental stage and also just understanding school and the repetition,” Warren Morgan, Chief Academics Officer, said.
Marion County Public Health Department Director Dr. Virginia Caine approved students in kindergarten through 8th grade returning full time to in-person classes beginning today. Still, IPS decided to go with a stricter timeline.
“We have taken a slightly more conservative approach where the younger students could be in person but the older elementary would be full time virtual,” Superintendent Aleesia Johnson said.
The week of October 12 was supposed to be Fall Break, so the district is moving all students back to virtual learning. Then the week of October 19, students in 4th grade through 12th grade return to school. Those students in 7th through 12th grade will do a hybrid schedule.
District leaders said they will be nimble with their planning as they follow guidelines set by the Marion County Health Department. If a student or staff member tests positive for COVID19, they will have to isolate for at least 10 days.
“In cases where students feel well enough or in the case of a staff member feels well enough, they can continue to attend school virtually,” Mindy Schlegel, Chief Human Resources Officer, said.
The district said they will also notify people who have had close contact with someone who tests positive for COVID-19. Then, those people will be asked to quarantine for two weeks.
“In this case, no one is actually ill, they are being asked to quarantine and will be able to continue to attend school remotely and or work remotely,” Schlegel explained.
The district also discussed transportation tonight. Chief Operations Officer Scott Martin said they are trying to keep their ridership numbers low on school buses. So, they are requesting families find an alternative method of transportation.
The goal is for each bus to only have one child per seat, except for children who live in the same household.