INDIANAPOLIS — Indianapolis Public Schools held a virtual town hall for parents and community members Monday night to address its latest plan to reopen.
On Friday, the district announced it will offer in-person and remote learning. Parents need to make a decision by July 17.
Superintendent Alessia Johnson said the district didn’t come to this decision lightly, working with health officials in Marion County.
“We have taken all that information to make decisions grounded in data, make decisions grounded in the guiding principles and non-negotiables that we set forth that we believe will create the best reopening for our students based on what we know today,” Johnson said.
IPS will reopen on Aug. 3 for the first time in months. New guidelines require everyone to wear a mask, stay at least three feet apart, with the goal being six feet. Rooms will be cleared to make extra room for social distancing. Students will use different entrances to come and go. Halls and stairwells will be designated one-way and IPS is spending $1 million to install touchless water fountains.
A recent survey by IPS found one-in-three parents prefer online learning if given the option.
Marion County Public Health Department Director Dr. Virginia Caine reassured parents Monday that schools are safe to reopen.
“We feel it’s OK for schools to reopen based on the current data we have today and that we’ve been looking at for the last two weeks,” she said.
But parents like Caprice Love will not be sending their student to school come August, because both her and her other daughter are high-risk.
“That’s another thing I fear for that my oldest baby will go to school and may get in contact with someone who probably doesn’t even know they are sick, or the family member is sick, and she comes home and brings it back to us,” Love said.
Other IPS parents like Jane Pyecha said the district’s message is confusing as other townships around the area are going online. She plans to keep both her son and daughter at home.
Pyecha said she is thankful to have a choice but knows other family do not.
“There are a lot of families who are being forced to make this decision just because of their circumstances. Maybe they are essential workers or single parents, so they have to send their kids back whether they feel comfortable about it or not,” she said.
IPS is asking parents to fill out this survey to provide feedback.