INDIANAPOLIS — Thursday's latest updates on the coronavirus pandemic.
IPS to start school year online
Indianapolis Public Schools approved a recommendation to start the school year with remote learning.
The IPS Board of School Commissioners voted in favor of the e-learning plan Thursday night, meaning the district's students will learn online when the school year starts Aug. 17 through at least Oct. 2.
“Please know the decision to recommend full remote learning for all students for the beginning of the school year was incredibly difficult to make, given what we know is at stake for our students,” said IPS Superintendent Aleesia Johnson. “Ultimately, we believe this decision is in the best interest of our students, staff and families.”
Every student in the district will be given a device to connect to their remote classes. IPS is also creating support strategies for students, including learning hubs, a student support network and in-person related services.
ISDH updates daily case count
ISDH is reporting 970 new cases of COVID-19 and 13 more deaths. Over the last seven days, Hoosiers are testing at a 6.9 percent positive rate.
The state has surpassed 65,000 total positive cases of the virus. Overall, Hoosiers are testing at an 8.9 percent positive rate.
The number of probable deaths has increased to 200. Doctors believe COVID-19 contributed to those deaths, but did not have a positive test result to confirm.
Hoosiers hospitalized by COVID-19 slightly decreased from Tuesday to Wednesday — from 837 to 831.
Mayor Hogsett, Dr. Caine provide update on COVID-19 guidelines in Marion County
Indianapolis Mayor Joe Hogsett and Marion County Public Health Department Director Dr. Virginia Caine revised school guidelines on Thursday.
Due to an increase in positive cases in Indianapolis and an increase in those cases in people under 40, a new public health order will go into effect on Aug. 6 that sets guidance for Marion County schools. This includes:
- Middle and high schools with less than 400 students may resume in-person classes if 6-foot social distancing can be achieved in classrooms, otherwise must be operated online or in a hybrid model.
- Middle and high schools with greater than 400 students must be operated virtually or in a hybrid model.
- K-5 schools may resume in-person classes.
- Schools with K-5 and above in a single building that can maintain 6-foot distancing may resume in-person, otherwise grades 6 or higher must remain online or move to a hybrid model.
- Masks must be worn by students in grades 3 and above at all times, except when eating and drinking. Students ages 3 and older must wear masks when indoors or not socially-distanced.
- Schools conducting all in-person or hybrid classes must implement social distancing procedures, such as staggering passing periods, implementing permanent seating charts in classrooms, and organizing students in classroom cohorts.
- Athletic teams are asked to follow current IHSAA guidelines, with further guidance expected in the coming weeks.
Marion County is currently operating under the Marion County Public Health Department's July 24 public health order, which implemented the following changes:
- Bars and nightclubs that don't serve food must close through at least Aug. 12.
- Indoor restaurant seating is now set to 50 percent capacity, and bar seating must be closed.
- All restaurants must close for in-person dining between midnight and 5 a.m.
- Shopping malls and retail stores can operate at 75 percent capacity.
- Tattoo, nail and hair salons can operate by appointment only.
- Gym and fitness centers can operate be at 25 percent capacity.
- Students will not be able to return to school in Indianapolis until Aug. 5, at the earliest.
US economy shrank at record-breaking 33% rate last quarter
The U.S. economy shrank at a dizzying 33% annual rate in the April-June quarter — by far the worst quarterly plunge ever — when the viral outbreak shut down businesses, throwing tens of millions out of work and sending unemployment surging to 14.7%, the government said Thursday.
The Commerce Department’s estimate of the second-quarter decline in the gross domestic product, the total output of goods and services, marked the sharpest such drop on records dating to 1947. The previous worst quarterly contraction, a 10% drop, occurred in 1958 during the Eisenhower administration.
Last quarter’s drop followed a 5% fall in the January-March quarter, during which the economy officially entered a recession triggered by the virus, ending an 11-year economic expansion, the longest on record in the United States.
The job market, the most important pillar of the economy, has been severely damaged. Tens of millions of jobs vanished in the recession. More than 1 million laid-off people have applied for unemployment benefits for 18 straight weeks. So far, about one-third of the lost jobs have been recovered, but the resurgent virus will likely slow further gains in the job market.
More than 1.4 million laid-off Americans applied for unemployment benefits last week, further evidence of the devastation the coronavirus outbreak has unleashed on the U.S. economy.
Washington Township, Beech Grove begin school year Thursday remotely; Brownsburg, Greenfield return to the classroom
Students in Washington Township will begin the 2020-21 school year with virtual learning Thursday, July 30.
The school board cited the recent increases in Indiana's coronavirus cases, children's ability to pass the virus to adults, and a particular risk to African-American families as reasons for the decision.
Virtual learning will take place until further notice.
Students in Beech Grove will begin the new school year with e-learning Thursday as well.
Students will do virtual learning through Friday, Aug. 7, and in-person learning begins Monday, Aug. 10 with a new schedule.
Beech Grove High School will operate under a hybrid learning environment, where students will have in-person learning two days a week and e-learning three days a week.
Students in Brownsburg and Greenfield will return to in-person learning Thursday with updated safety guidelines.
IPS school board to vote Thursday on starting school year with 100% remote learning
The Indianapolis Public Schools Board of School Commissioners will vote Thursday evening on the proposed plan of beginning the 2020-21 school year with 100 percent remote learning.
IPS, which is scheduled to start the school year Aug. 17, is planning to hold off on in person instruction until at least October.
All students will receive a device for the 2020-21 school year. Students in grades Pre-K-2 will receive an iPad; students in Grades 3-12 will receive a Chromebook. A MiFi mobile hot spot device will also be available to families who do not have access to internet service.
The district also plans to implement learning hubs as a supplement to remote learning for select students. These hubs will be physical spaces where some students who may struggle with remote instruction can go each day to access their digital classwork and receive help, as well as those who receive physical and mental interventions that they can’t otherwise get virtually.
Latest US, world numbers
There have been 4.42 million confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the U.S. as of 3:30 a.m. ET Thursday, according to Johns Hopkins University. There have been more than 150,000 deaths and 1.38 million people recovered.
Worldwide, there have been 17.03 million confirmed cases with more than 667,000 deaths and 9.95 million recoveries.
For most people, the coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia and death.