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IPS unveils protocols on face masks, vaccinations for upcoming school year

Masks will be recommended for those who have been vaccinated, the district posted Tuesday evening.

INDIANAPOLIS — Indianapolis Public Schools have released their COVID-19 safety plan for the upcoming school year.

The district posted its protocols on its website Tuesday evening, citing guidance from local and state health departments and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

IPS is recommending students and staff wear face masks while indoors, but said vaccinated students and staff members may opt out of wearing a mask by voluntarily providing proof of their vaccination. Staff members, however, are highly recommended to wear a mask when they're around unvaccinated students, including those under the age of 12 and the medically fragile, the district said.

Unvaccinated students must wear face masks under the policy for the upcoming school year. Also, masks are required for all students, staff and drivers on IPS buses, regardless of vaccination status, as part of the federal mandate by the Transportation Security Administration.

Visitors must also wear masks indoors, regardless of vaccination status. Masks for visitors, as well as those students and staff who are required to wear face coverings indoors, can be removed outside as long as social distancing of at least three feet is maintained.

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The district will continue to track positive cases on the COVID-19 dashboard on its website and notify families and staff of positive cases at their school. "Contact tracing and quarantine procedures will be followed for those who have been in close contact with anyone who tests positive for COVID-19," the district wrote, but noted that vaccinated students and staff members who are asymptomatic will not have to quarantine.

Quarantine periods will be 14 days and students or staff who show symptoms will require a negative PCR test or clearance from a medical professional to return to school.

Because of the contact tracing, the district will adhere to seating charts in classrooms, cafeterias and school buses.

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The district is also instructing staff or students who show symptoms of COVID-19 remain at home. The symptoms include fever/chills, cough, shortness of breath, fatigue, muscle or body aches, headache, a loss of taste and smell, sore throat and sinus congestion.

IPS will also maintain a protocol of frequently cleaning "high-touch" surfaces and will continue to offer hand sanitizer and no-touch water bottle filling stations.

IPS students return to class Aug. 2.

Click here to read the full COVID-19 protocol for IPS.