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When Indianapolis schools are going back to virtual learning

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All Indianapolis K-12 schools must return to virtual learning by Nov. 30 as part of an effort to slow the spread of the latest COVID-19 surge.

Mayor Joe Hogsett and Marion County Public Health Department Director Dr. Virginia Caine announced the changes Nov. 12, and school districts quickly started announcing when students will go back to a virtual model. Schools must remain virtual until at least Jan. 15, 2021.

We will update this last as districts announce their plans.

• Indianapolis Public Schools — Nov. 23

• Pike Township schools — Nov. 23

• Washington Township schools — Nov. 18

• Lawrence Township schools — Nov. 23

• Wayne Township schools — Nov. 16

• Warren Township schools — Nov. 23

• Perry Township schools — Nov. 30

• Franklin Township schools — Nov. 23

• Decatur Township schools — Nov. 23

• Speedway schools — Nov. 30

• Beech Grove schools — Nov. 16 for middle school; Nov. 18 for K-6 schools; high school is already doing e-learning and will continue.

County health department guidance established various levels of positivity rates and what that would mean for schools. A county positivity rate of 11% to 12% would close middle and high schools. It was at 10.3% as of Nov. 12 — including 12% for the K-12 age group — and Caine said the health department expects that number to continue climbing at in the short term.

IPS Superintendent Aleesia Johnson said in a media roundtable Nov. 13 that the district wasn’t caught off guard by the decision to go virtual because of increasing positivity rates, which is happening all over the country.

The district has reported 820 quarantine cases since reopening schools in early October, and Johnson said staffing was “becoming a real concern” in some schools. A district spokesperson said there have been 22 instances of closing a classroom, grade level or school because of quarantined students and staff.

Schools already went through this once before in the spring, which should help students and staff transition back to a virtual model more easily than during the first shutdown. IPS has since reached its goal of having a device for every student — Chromebooks for third through 12th graders and iPads for pre-K through second graders.

Marion County superintendents communicate weekly and have been asking the community to be more responsible when it comes to taking health precautions.

“Now, more than ever, we desperately need your help to keep our schools and our community safe,” Pike Township schools wrote in a message on its Facebook page. “Please wear a mask, practice social distancing, wash your hands, monitor your health, and stay home if you are sick.”

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