Note that we are currently in the Yellow category with a positivity rate of around 9%.
INDIANAPOLIS – Today, Marion County Public Health Department Director and Chief Health Officer Dr. Virginia Caine was joined by Mayor Joe Hogsett to outline guidance for K-12 schools moving into the 2020-2021 school year. The guidance comes as cases continue to increase nationwide with a trend toward cases seen in a younger population.
“Over the last several weeks, I’ve spent a lot of time talking with stakeholders about the various policy scenarios we have analyzed – we don’t take these decisions lightly,” said Dr. Caine. “We will continue to monitor COVID-19 data throughout the school year to ensure our students have the best and safest opportunities to learn that current conditions will allow.”
“My hope is that throughout this school year, students keep in mind that they will help drive decisions around whether they can be in the classroom, play sports, or participate in band or choir practice,” said Mayor Joe Hogsett. “Wearing a mask, following the social distancing procedures set by their school, and being thoughtful with their actions outside of the classroom will help prevent future outbreaks in our schools, families, and throughout our community.”
In Marion County, newly confirmed cases continue to trend upward, while the percent positive of COVID-19 tests are trending slowly downward. The percent of COVID-19 patients who are under the age of 40 has increased from 27% to 55% in recent months.
In light of this data, a new Public Health Order will go into effect on August 6 that sets guidance for Marion County schools. This includes:
- Middle and high schools with less than 400 students may resume in-person classes if 6-foot social distancing can be achieved in classrooms, otherwise must be operated online or in a hybrid model.
- Middle and high schools with greater than 400 students must be operated virtually or in a hybrid model.
- K-5 schools may resume in-person classes.
- Schools with K-5 and above in a single building that can maintain 6-foot distancing may resume in-person, otherwise grades 6 or higher must remain online or move to a hybrid model.
- Masks must be worn by students in grades 3 and above at all times, except when eating and drinking. Students ages 3 and older must wear masks when indoors or not socially-distanced.
- Schools conducting all in-person or hybrid classes must implement social distancing procedures, such as staggering passing periods, implementing permanent seating charts in classrooms, and organizing students in classroom cohorts.
- Athletic teams are asked to follow current IHSAA guidelines, with further guidance expected in the coming weeks.