County schools reveal plans for reopening
By Gus Pearcy
Superintendents from all six school districts, in conjunction with the Hendricks County County health department have released rules for reopening schools with enhanced safety measures. These are some of the firsts announced in Indiana and based on a 38-page document released by state officials and based on recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control. It is expected many other districts will adopt similar guidelines.
Schools in Avon, Plainfield and Brownsburg have joined together to devise this reopening plan announced in a press release on June 17. The press release stated all districts will open on their scheduled dates. Brownsburg schools, for instance, go back on July 30.
The specific logistics will be unique to each district, but in general, the schools will follow these general rules.
When it comes to masks, all students and staff will be required to have masks with them at all times. Masks will be required on buses and in certain “in-school” settings, such as standing in line. Lunch will likely spill outside of the cafeteria in all buildings to accommodate social distancing.
Classrooms will be rearranged to maximize space and schedules may be changed to accommodate greater separation of students. School districts are expected to end shared school supplies and incentives for perfect attendance.
Visitors and guests to the buildings will be “significantly” restricted.
If students and staff members get sick, they must be free of fever for 72 hours without medication known to reduce fevers before returning to school.
Playgrounds will be open, but certain areas will be restricted for sanitizing.
Should a student contract COVID-19, the schools have a plan approved by the health officers. Each school will follow the same plan. The release also states that schools could close at any time based on consultation with the health department.
It is anticipated that schools will give parents a choice to allow children to stay at home for eLearning if they feel more comfortable. However, parents will have to notify the school of their choice by a certain date for planning purposes.
On June 17, Brownsburg schools, the second-largest district in Hendricks County, sent a detailed letter to parents spelling out the enhanced safety measures for the grade levels. In the document, signed by Superintendent Jim Snapp, there is a push for in-person instruction. Parents do have a choice to keep their children at home and eLearning will continue for them. Students who take that option must declare by July 10.
Snapp’s plan also said the entire district could close again due to the spread or a second wave of the novel coronavirus. That decision will be based on advice from the county health department.
Avon Community Schools are expected to send a similar plan to parents this week.