INDIANAPOLIS — Indianapolis Public schools is revealing its plan to keep students and employees safe when schools reopen Aug. 3.
According to Superintendent Aleesia Johnson, everyone will be required to wear masks or face shields when they are on school property and riding school buses.
Social distancing will be the rule in classrooms, cafeterias, hallways playgrounds and even buses. Students will be kept at least three feet apart with a goal of six feet when possible.
Bus riders will be separated by having only one child sitting in each row.
“Walk zones” are being expanded. More children will be walking to school, making buses less crowded. The school district is hiring crossing guards to help the kids cross busy streets.
Classrooms are being cleared of unnecessary furniture to make more room for students. Touchless water fountains are being installed. Hallways and stairways are being designated as “one way” to keep students moving and limiting face-to-face contact. Students will enter and leave schools from multiple doors to reduce bottlenecks.
Parents are being asked to check their children ever days for coronavirus symptoms. Children will be screened at schools.
If a student tests positive for the virus, IPS will work with the Marion County Public Health Department to identify and notify people who may be at risk of being infected.
In a recent survey 30 percent of IPS families said they would enroll their children in the remote e-Learning program being offered. Ten thousand students learning from home would give students attending schools more room to spread out and socially distance.
IPS figures it’s already spent $15 million purchasing computers, other e-Learning technology, PPE and resources for coronavirus prevention initiatives. That’s about half a million dollars more than the federal grant IPS is receiving to cover additional costs of keeping kids and teachers safe.