*IPS will continue to revisit all guidance as MCPHD announces updates to COVID safety protocols. The updates in blue will begin September 8, 2021.

The IPS COVID-19 protocols for the 2021–22 school year were created based on updated guidance from the Marion County Public Health Department, the Indiana State Health Department and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

These protocols are subject to change based on new guidance from the health departments/organizations listed above. 

Face Masks

  • Masks are required for all students and staff — regardless of vaccination status — in all IPS buildings.
  • Students are still encouraged to provide proof of vaccination status to IPS given that:
    -Mask guidance may change later in the school year.
    -Vaccinated students who are not symptomatic are not required to quarantine if there’s a possible exposure.
    -Vaccinated students (ages 12 and older) can voluntarily provide proof of vaccination status. Click HERE to learn how to submit proof of vaccination documentation for students.
  • Staff should continue to provide proof of vaccination status per HR protocol given that:
    -Mask guidance may change later in the school year.  
    -Vaccinated staff who are not symptomatic are not required to quarantine if there’s a possible exposure.
    -Vaccinated can provide proof of vaccination to the IPS HR Department. Click HERE to learn how to submit an official vaccination record for staff.
  • Masks are required on IPS buses for all students, staff and drivers, regardless of vaccination status. This is a federal Transportation Security Administration (TSA) mandate.

Contract Tracing/Quarantine 

  • The IPS COVID-19 dashboard on the district website will track positive cases throughout the district and schools will notify families and staff of any positive cases at their location.
  • Students identified as a close contact in a classroom setting where everyone is consistently and correctly masked will no longer be required to quarantine. However, families may still choose to have their student quarantine. (If you have a student that is currently quarantining, the school will let you know if your student can return to the classroom based on this new guidance.)
    -If masks are not worn consistently or correctly in a classroom, students identified as a close contact will need to quarantine for 14 days.
    -Face shields are not considered a mask and those wearing one will be required to quarantine if identified as a close contact.
    -This guidance will not apply to staff members who are deemed close contacts. Unvaccinated staff members will still be required to quarantine for 14 days. Fully vaccinated staff who do not have symptoms will not be required to quarantine.
  • Areas where students may not be masked consistently (lunch, band, athletics, etc.) will require contact tracing and for students to be quarantined if they have been identified within 6 feet (for more than 15 minutes) of a person who tested positive.
  • Students/staff who have had close contact with someone with COVID-19 and who meets the following criteria does NOT need to quarantine: Someone who has COVID-19 illness within the previous three months, has recovered and remains without COVID-19 symptoms (for example, cough, shortness of breath).
  • Quarantine periods will expire after 14 days post exposure.
  • IPS accepts either a PCR or rapid test for both asymptomatic and symptomatic individuals. Tests must be done in a clinical setting.
  • Seating charts will be maintained in all classrooms, cafeterias, and school buses so that contact tracing can be conducted.
  • COVID-19 symptoms must be monitored at home for students and staff. Those displaying symptoms must remain at home.

COVID-19 Symptoms Checklist

The following are the COVID-19 symptoms parents and staff should check each morning before attending school or work. Those who have these symptoms should stay home.

  • Fever/Chills
  • Cough
  • Shortness of Breath or Difficulty Breathing
  • Fatigue
  • Muscle/Body Aches
  • Headache
  • New Loss of Taste/Smell
  • Sore Throat
  • Sinus Congestion or Runny Nose
  • Nausea or Vomiting
  • Diarrhea

Cleaning/Sanitizing/Hygiene & PPE

  • All high-touch surfaces will be cleaned and sanitized frequently in school and office buildings and on buses.
  • Hand sanitizer will continue to be available.
  • IPS will stock disposable masks for emergency use in schools and on buses.
  • Proper hand washing, cough, and sneeze protocols are required.
  • No-touch water bottle filling stations available in schools.

Social Distancing — Classrooms/Cafeterias/Buses

  • Schools will continue to cohort students as much as possible and practice social distancing of 3 feet when possible.
  • Seating charts will be maintained in classes, during lunch periods, and on buses for contact tracing.
  • Students will be able to eat in school cafeterias but will have assigned seating. Masks are not required for students while eating and drinking. 
  • In K-8 schools, staff will reduce the number of students in the cafeteria at any given lunch period as much as possible (utilizing classrooms, the outside, or the gym 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.

Student Quarantines & Learning

  • Students who must quarantine due to COVID-19 will receive classwork from their individual teachers via Schoology.
  • While in quarantine, students are expected to complete classwork via their school-issued device. 

Visitors & Volunteers

  • Parents/guardians, community partners, volunteers may be in buildings by scheduled appointment only. Interactions within classrooms will be be limited.
  • Masks are required for all visitors — parents/guardians, community partners, volunteers —regardless of vaccination status while indoors. If outdoors, masks are required only if socially distancing is not possible. 
  • Visitors/Volunteers will be asked to conduct a symptom check before entering a school building.
  • Visitors/Volunteers will not be permitted to eat with students/staff during breakfast or lunch.

PE & Recess

  • Students can remove masks during active play outdoors only — regardless of vaccination status — if socially distanced.

Athletics & Extracurriculars

  • Student athletes are not required to wear masks during practice and games. For the full High School Athletics COVID-19 Guidelines click HERE.
  • Band, orchestra and choir groups must limit the duration of practice and performance to no more than 45 minutes.
  • Bands and orchestras must be socially distanced between string and percussion instruments (with face masks if not vaccinated), and wind instruments (without masks).
  • Choirs must maintain social distancing. Masks are to be worn while singing or vocalizing.
  • Public attendance at games and extracurricular performances is allowed. Masks are required for all visitors — parents/guardians, community partners, volunteers —regardless of vaccination status while indoors. If outdoors, masks are required only if socially distancing is not possible. 
  • No in-person field trips through October 8, 2021.

Testing/Vaccination

The district’s COVID-19 dashboard reports the new number of combined student and staff COVID-19 positive cases and the number of those in quarantine. The dashboard will be updated on Mondays.

COVID-19
Reporting

Indianapolis Public Schools is following the protocols established by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Indiana State Department of Health (ISDH), and Marion County Public Health Department (MCPHD) on quarantines and isolating symptomatic staff and students. On advice from our local health professionals, our approach is very cautious to help to limit the spread of COVID-19 in our schools. 

Positive Cases
By Week

The COVID-19 positive data on the dashboard represents new confirmed positive cases that are reported to the district. This does not mean the staff or student contracted the virus while at school or in an IPS facility. The data simply reflects families and staff reporting a new positive diagnosis by week. 

Quarantines
By Week

The quarantine data represents the number of staff and students who have been told  to quarantine due to direct contact with a COVID-19 positive case. The numbers only includes new quarantines for the week. Many of the individuals who are quarantined do not develop symptoms or test positive for COVID-19.