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IPS making changes to COVID-19 safety protocols amid case surge

The changes go into effect Wednesday, Sept. 8.

INDIANAPOLIS — IPS announced new COVID changes coming to classrooms.

All in an effort to prevent schools from shutting down and sending kids home.

It's been about a month since IPS started its semester and they're updating their COVID-19 safety protocols yet again.

The reason is an increase in cases. Just last week, 416 students across the district were quarantined because of positive tests and exposures.  

"We are getting emails every other day that there is a new COVID case," said parent Eboni Hearn Lindsey. 

To slow the spread, the school outlined a handful of changes starting September 8:

  • Close contact will be defined as being within three feet of a person who tested positive for COVID-19 for 15 minutes or more within a classroom setting.
  • IPS will accept either a PCR or rapid test for both asymptomatic and symptomatic individuals. Tests must be done in a clinical setting.
  • In K-8 schools, staff will reduce the number of students in the cafeteria at any given lunch period as much as possible, including utilizing classrooms, the outside or the gymnasium to reduce the number of students eating lunch together.
  • In high schools, students may continue to eat in the cafeteria with mandatory assigned seating for contact tracing purposes.
  • Parents and guardians, community partners and volunteers may be in buildings by scheduled appointment only. Interactions within classrooms will be be limited.
  • Masks are to be worn while singing or vocalizing.
  • No in-person field trips through Friday, Oct. 8, 2021
Credit: IPS

Lindsey's daughter is a sophomore at Shortridge High School. She appreciates the extra effort to protect students, but is skeptical if it'll actually work.

"I don't know how you're going to get a teenager to sit in assigned seat at lunch. I just don't see how this is going to help stop COVID. I think we are going to end up going back virtual," said Lindsey.

That's something that parent Brooke Harris Garad would support.

Her two kids are in elementary school. Her family lives with her mother, who is immuno-compromised.

"I would like for us to work together and find one teacher out of the group to teach virtual students. It's terrifying sending my kids knowing that we have pretty much stopped doing everything except school," said Garad. 

Credit: IPS

Not all parents want to go back to online learning.

While Lindsey may be skeptical, she's hoping the new plan works to keep her daughter in class.

"Do what you have to do. I just don't know how it's going to work. I know teenagers I live with one," said Garad.

Click here to see the current IPS COVID-19 safety protocols.

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