INDIANAPOLIS – Indianapolis public schools will require unvaccinated students to wear masks and maintain seating plans as part of their COVID-19 protocols for the 2021-2022 school year.
IPS says the protocols were created based on updated guidelines from the Marion County Public Health Department, Indiana State Department of Health, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and are likely to change according to new directives.
IPS recommends that all staff and students wear a mask indoors, but students and staff who have been vaccinated may choose not to wear face masks by voluntarily providing proof of their immunization status.
Unvaccinated students are required to wear a face mask except when eating and drinking during their lunch break.
Masks are mandatory on IPS buses for all students, staff and drivers, regardless of their vaccination status. IPS says this is a federal mandate from the Transportation Security Administration.
Social distancing – Classrooms / cafeterias / buses
IPS says schools will continue to group students together as much as possible and practice three-foot social distancing when possible. Students will be able to eat in the school cafeterias but will be allocated seats.
Contract monitoring / Quarantine
IPS says its COVID-19 dashboard on the district’s website will track positive cases throughout the district, and schools will notify families and staff of any positive cases at their location. Seating charts will be maintained in all classrooms, cafeterias and school buses so that contact tracing can be performed.
Contact tracing and quarantine procedures will be followed for those who have been in close contact with anyone who has tested positive for COVID-19. Vaccinated students and staff members who are asymptomatic are not required to self-quarantine. A symptomatic staff member or student without positive COVID exposure will need a negative PCR test or authorization from a medical provider to return.
Close contact is defined as being within three feet of a person who has tested positive for COVID-19 for 15 minutes or more. Quarantine periods will expire 14 days after exposure.
Quarantines and student learning
Students who need to quarantine due to COVID-19 will receive classwork from their individual teachers through Schoology. During quarantine, students must complete their class work using their school-provided device.
COVID-19 Symptom Checklist
Here are the symptoms of COVID-19 that parents and staff should check every morning before going to school or work. Those with these symptoms should stay home.
- Fever / chills
- Shortness of breath
- Muscle / body pain
- Loss of taste / smell
- Sore throat
- Sinus congestion
Cleaning / Sanitation / Hygiene & PPE
IPS says all high contact surfaces will be cleaned and disinfected frequently in schools and offices and on buses. Hand sanitizer will continue to be available and IPS will stock disposable masks for emergency use in schools and on buses. Appropriate hand washing, coughing and sneezing protocols are required. IPS noted that contactless water bottle filling stations are available in schools.
Visitors and volunteers
All visitors, including parents, guardians, community partners and volunteers, should wear masks indoors, regardless of their immunization status. Outside, masks are only required if social distancing is not possible.
Visitors and volunteers will be asked to perform a symptom check before entering a school building and will not be allowed to eat with students or staff during breakfast or lunch.
PE and recess
If socially distant, students and staff can remove masks during active play indoors and outdoors, regardless of immunization status. During indoor recess and PE, unvaccinated students who are not actively participating should wear their masks.
Athletics and Extracurricular
Student athletes are not required to wear masks during practices and matches.
Harmony, orchestral and choir groups must limit the duration of practice and performance to a maximum of 45 minutes. Groups and orchestras should be socially distanced between string and percussion instruments (with face masks if not vaccinated) and wind instruments (without masks). Choirs should maintain social distancing and wear face masks if they are not vaccinated.
Public participation in games and extracurricular shows is permitted. IPS says it will consider these events public and follow county health department guidelines to ask attendees to wear masks if they are not vaccinated.
IPS says that for those 12 and older, receiving the COVID-19 vaccine is currently the best way to protect yourself and others from the virus. COVID vaccination sites are conveniently located throughout the community. IPS says it will continue to host vaccination clinics throughout the school year. Dates, times and locations will be provided on the district website and through district communication to families and staff.
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