By Lindsay Doty
As the start of school creeps closer, districts are announcing more details for back to school plans.
On Monday, July 7, Brownsburg Community School Corporation sent an email to student families updating them on what to expect when students return to the classroom on Thursday, July 30.
“Face masks will be worn at all times, with very limited exceptions and only when directed by the teacher,” said the letter from Superintendent Jim Snapp.
Examples included speech instruction by the speech pathologist and at lunch.
BCSC leaders say at other times, including riding the bus, passing periods and during normal instruction, students will be wearing their masks. If students do not have a mask, one will be provided for them.
Similar to the other Hendricks County public schools, the letter also talked about the challenges of social distancing at schools 100% of the time.
“We will not be able to social distance on the buses, in some classes, during some passing periods at the secondary level and lunch,” Snapp said in the update.
As a precaution, classrooms are arranged differently to provide space between each desk and the passing periods will be adjusted to lessen the number of students in the hallways.
Brownsburg families have an at home learning option. The deadline to sign up for virtual learning for BCSC is Friday, July10.
“As of today, 3.5% of our 9,300 students plan to start the year with the At Home Learning option,” Snapp’s letter said Monday.
Similar to Brownsburg and the other Hendricks County public schools, Avon Community School Corporation, which returns Wednesday, July 29, has a virtual learning option and an FAQ page designated to precautions and protocols.
ACSC leaders say employees and students will be required to bring a mask and wear it in designated areas and circumstances (hallways, bus, small groups), according to the district FAQ page.
The district is removing excess furniture and equipment from all classrooms to provide more room to spread out.
Avon schools stated on its website that social distancing is not possible in every classroom, so individual desks will be in rows facing the front of the room, allowing students to remove their masks during class.
The Avon district has also made adjustments to its cafeteria protocol, including no visitors, extra time for cleaning in between lunches and seating charts. Plexiglass barriers will also be in front offices.
While there are some variations in the details, all six Hendricks County public schools have agreed to this list of guidelines under the advisory of state and local health leaders:
Require staff and students to have a mask with them at all times. There will be certain situations, including on a bus and some in-school settings, when wearing a mask will be required for both students and staff.
Require students and staff to be fever-free for 72 hours without the use of fever-reducing medication before returning to school.
Maximize instructional space and scheduling flexibility.
Employ enhanced cleaning procedures with additional hand sanitizer stations.
Open playgrounds with separate zones for sanitization purposes.
Allow the use of water fountains for bottle or cup refills only.
Adjust lunches to maximize available open space and utilize alternate scheduling to adhere to safety guidelines.
Identify and separate space in school clinics to treat symptomatic students.
Restrict visitors and guests in school buildings.
Discontinue perfect attendance incentives.
In conjunction with the Hendricks County Health Department, Hendricks County public schools will have a common response to confirmed cases of COVID-19 and ongoing consultation will inform the decisions to keep schools open.
“Wearing face masks will be key to keeping schools safe, along with implementing social distancing protocols,” said Dr. Kris Box, Indiana State Health Commissioner.