The COVID-19 pandemic has immensely changed our lives in so many ways. As we wait for a vaccine and treatment, we must work together to mitigate the risk in our community, while still educating and supporting the health and well-being of our students. We are establishing new norms within our schools and office spaces – understanding it will take time and constant positive reinforcement to teach and learn these new ways of being. We urge our community to lean into this new normal and create a physically and emotionally safe space for everyone.
We know that our district families and staff have lots of questions about what this school year will look like due to COVID-19, and we want to keep you informed with the most up-to-date information. We have and will continue to work with recommendations from the Indiana Department of Education IN-Class Plan, Marion County Public Health Department Guidance for schools, Indiana State Public Health Department and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to meet the unique needs of our school community.
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.
Note: IPS is scheduled to return to in-person learning on Tuesday, Jan. 19, using a phased-in approach.
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.
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.
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.
The CDC defines direct contact as someone who has been within 6 feet (for more than 15 minutes) of a positive COVID-19 person — from the 48 hours prior to the positive person’s symptom onset or their positive test collection date, if asymptomatic. While mask use decreases the risk of infection, at this time it does not change recommendations for quarantine. Close contacts need to quarantine at home for 14 days after the date of their last exposure.
The Marion County Public Health Department has shared a revised framework for school operations. This updated model compares an individual school’s positivity rate to the overall community in assessing the risk of each school’s operations.
Starting Jan. 19, decisions about whether a school switches from in-person to remote learning will be made based on what’s going on in that specific building, with students and staff. This includes decisions impacting classrooms, grade levels or the entire building. This will be a collaborative process between school and district leadership.
The Marion County Public Health Department’s framework for school operations can be found here.