INDIANAPOLIS — Indianapolis Public Schools will delay the first day of school by two weeks due to a recent rise in coronavirus cases.
The school district had planned to begin classes with in-person and remote learning options on Aug. 3. In an announcement, IPS said its board of commissioners voted Saturday at its annual retreat to move the start of school back to Aug. 17.
“As I’ve acknowledged all along, this is a fluid situation and we will remain flexible,” IPS Superintendent Aleesia Johnson said. “My job as superintendent is to look at all of the data from state and local health and government officials to make the best decision for our students and staff about the new school year.
"The decision to delay the opening of school by two weeks gives our community more time to ensure we are turning the tide on the number of positive COVID-19 cases and confirm we are doing the right thing."
When school begins, IPS will offer students both in-person and remote learning options. IPS will reopen the full-time remote learning registration form to allow families interested in remote learning to sign up before school begins.
"We have said from the beginning given the context of this virus we need to be ready at a moment's notice to implement a full virtual learning program if needed," Johnson said.
So far, the district has had 8,500 families opting for virtual learning, Johnson said. That's about 25 percent of students who have already said they won't return back to school even in late August.
Johnson and her team are ready to pivot and move with whatever the pandemic brings, that includes being prepared for an outbreak, she said.
"Know that flexibility and responsiveness has to be our key priority," Johnson said.
IPS is the latest area school district to alter plans for the beginning of the school year.
On Monday, Washington Township Schools announced it would begin the school year with 100% virtual learning. Hamilton Southeastern Schools announced Friday it is delaying the start of in-person classes to at least Aug. 17. Franklin Community Schools in Johnson County is also pushing back its reopening date to Aug. 17.
School buildings have been closed in Indiana since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic in March. Earlier this week, Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb announced the state would remain at Stage 4.5 in its reopening plan for an additional two weeks due to a spike in coronavirus cases.