GREENFIELD — Even as COVID-19 numbers are slowly rising in Indiana, one school district will soon bring its high school students back to the classroom for additional in-person teaching.
Greenfield-Central High School began its year with full-time in-person learning on July 31. But even though coronavirus cases have not been high in the district, the large number of students and staff who had to stay home because they were close contacts of someone who tested positive forced the district to make a change. In mid-August, the high school switched to a hybrid plan, with students alternating between two days of in-person learning and two days of virtual learning at home.
After Greenfield-Central students return from fall break October 19, high school students will remain on that hybrid schedule for another two weeks. Beginning November 2, a new modified block schedule will take effect that will have all students in the classroom every weekday except for Wednesdays, when all students will remain home for virtual learning. "We have found that as health and safety improved, our students' academic and social-emotional health have lagged behind. We hope this new schedule will help find a better balance as we move forward," said Greenfield-Central High School principal Jason Cary in an email to students and parents. Masks and social distancing will still be mandatory for students, teachers and staff.
The change was made after Greenfield-Central Schools surveyed students, parents and high school faculty on whether a change to the hybrid schedule should be made. "The vast majority of (parents) wanted children in the building more than our hybrid schedule allowed. We know this new schedule isn't perfect, but we believe it is a better option for our students at this point in time," Cary said.
Greenfield-Central was one of the first school districts in Indiana to have a coronavirus case, after a student at Greenfield-Central Junior High tested positive on the first day of classes. Since then, the district has only a handful of confirmed cases. Outside of the high school, students in all other Greenfield-Central schools have attended classes in-person full time for the entire school year.
Hancock County remains in the blue category - the state's lowest - according to the COVID-19 map from the Indiana State Department of Health, based primarily on a low positive test rate. Guidance from the health department shows that in-person learning for high school students is recommended if a county has a blue rating.