INDIANAPOLIS — Indianapolis Public Schools (IPS) will begin the school year virtually on August 17, because of COVID-19 concerns.
The IPS board Thursday evening approved delaying the start of in-class learning until a date to be determined, possibly October. The vote was unanimous, although board members acknowledged the strain at-home learning will place on many families.
IPS Superintendent Aleesia Johnson said a recent "significant" increase in COVID-19 cases in Marion County was behind the recommendation to go to virtual learning, which is how the district finished out the spring semester after schools shut down in March.
"Please know the decision to recommend full remote learning for all students for the beginning of the school year was incredibly difficult to make, given what we know is at stake for our students,” said Johnson. “Ultimately, we believe this decision is in the best interest of our students, staff and families.”
The district's initial plan was to start school August 3. Then the opening date was moved to August 17. Earlier this week, the IPS administration recommended that the school year begin entirely remote. Thursday, the board gave its approval.
To make up for the two weeks that will be lost at the start of August, the district will reduce the fall and spring breaks, each by one week.
All IPS students will receive either an iPad or Chromebook, and a mobile hot spot will be available to families what do not have access to internet service. Each school will have two people in charge of distributing the devices and making sure they are maintained.
Provisions are also being made to get meals to children on a regular basis.
The district also plans to have "learning hubs" for some students, especially those with special needs. The hubs will be located in five IPS schools and will be for students who are struggling with remote learning. At the hubs students can access their digital classwork and receive help.
You can watch the meeting below: