*LAST UPDATE: January 18, 2022.

As the country continues to battle COVID-19 and the Omicron variant, IPS has added updates the district’s health and safety protocols to help keep students, staff and families as safe as possible during in-person learning  as we enter into the second half of the 2021–22 school year.

In addition to these protocols, IPS will continue to:

  • Host FREE vaccine and immunization clinics at schools throughout the school year (when possible), as well as share citywide vaccine clinic locations.
  • Share citywide testing locations.

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

NEW RESOURCES:

CDC Expands Booster Shot Eligibility and Strengthens Recommendations for 12-17 Year Olds. Read more HERE.

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

  • Well-fitted masks are required for all students and staff — regardless of vaccination status — in all IPS buildings.
  • 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.

Properly Wearing a Mask is Essential

Proper fitting masks continue to be essential to prevent the spread of COVID-19.  This means no gaps or ‘puckers’ and the mask stays over your mouth and nose while talking.

Different Types of Masks — By Rank:

  • High filtration masks provide the best protection 
    • N95
    • KN95
    • Cloth masks 
      • Consider layering surgical with cloth over.
      • If your cloth mask has an opening to insert a filter, this provides another layer of protection.
  • 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.

Contact Tracing/Quarantine 

IPS is monitoring the CDC guidance for K-12 schools and will update as we receive more information.

At Indianapolis Public Schools:

  • 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 and staff identified as a close contact will need to quarantine for a minimum of 5 days — unless fully vaccinated.
  • Staff and students may return from quarantine after 5 full days as long as they are able to wear a well-fitted mask at all times while not eating or drinking.
  • Face shields are not considered a mask and those wearing one will be required to quarantine for 10 full days if identified as a close contact.
  • 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.
  • Quarantine monitoring periods will expire after 10 days post exposure.
  • IPS accepts either a PCR or rapid test for both asymptomatic and symptomatic individuals.
  • 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.

Isolation Guidance

  • Students and staff who test positive for COVID-19, regardless of vaccination status will be required to isolate for a minimum of 5 full days starting either from onset of symptoms or from the date of a positive test if asymptomatic. 
  • Students and staff may return from isolation after 5 full days only if they meet the following requirements:
    • Symptoms have significantly improved including no fever for over 24 hours without the use of fever-reducing medication. 
    • Ability to wear a well-fitted mask at all times while not eating or drinking
  • Staff or students who do not meet the above criteria will be required to isolate for 10 full days before returning. 

NOTE: The link to the updated CDC K-12 guidance ( as of January 6, 2022) can be found HERE.

Quarantine vs. Isolation

  • You quarantine when you might have been exposed to the virus or may or may not have been infected.
  • You isolate when you have been infected with the virus, even if you don’t have symptoms.

COVID-19 Symptoms Checklist

Parents and staff should check for the following COVID-19 symptoms daily — including each morning before attending work or school. Those who have these symptoms should stay home and get a COVID test.  

Updated COVID-19 Screening Graphics:

(These graphics can be used for families and staff)

Symptoms include: 

  • Fever (100.4)/Chills
  • Cough
  • Shortness of Breath or Difficulty Breathing
  • 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

  • IPS is limiting visitors — parents/guardians, community partners, volunteers. Please check with your schools for more details.
  • Masks are required for all approved visitors — parents/guardians, community partners, volunteers —regardless of vaccination status while indoors. If outdoors, masks are not required. 
  • 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.

Athletics & Extracurriculars

  • Student athletes are encouraged but not required to wear masks during practice and games. 
  • Athletic contests/games for all K-6, K-8 and middle schools have been paused until at least Feb. 4
  • 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 for everyone), 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 but limited to 50% capacity, including the upcoming city tournament. Masks are required for all visitors — parents/guardians, community partners, volunteers — regardless of vaccination status while indoors. If outdoors, masks are not required. 
  • No in-person field trips until February 4, 2022 (subject to change).

Testing/Vaccination

Currently for ages 5 and older, receiving the COVID-19 vaccine is the best way to protect yourself and others from the virus. Read more HERE.

IPS Vaccine and Immunization Clinics

IPS will continue to host vaccination clinics throughout the school year. These clinics include COVID-19 vaccines (1st, 2nd and booster shots) and school-required and recommended immunizations (including DTap, Polio, MMR, Hepatitis, flu, etc.)

COVID-19 Citywide Vaccine Sites:

  • Vaccine sites are conveniently located throughout the city. Click HERE for locations.

COVID-19 Citywide Testing Sites:

  • COVID testing information and testing sites can be found HERE.

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.