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IPS proposes 100% eLearning start for 2020-21 school year, School Board will vote Thursday

Nonprofit pushes for more funding to help ‘vulnerable learners’
Posted at 11:49 AM, Jul 29, 2020
and last updated 2020-07-29 23:35:49-04

INDIANAPOLIS — The Indianapolis Public Schools administration is recommending that the school year begin entirely remote, according to a note sent to parents on Wednesday.

The district plans to present the recommendation to the IPS Board of School Commissioners on Thursday where it will be voted on.

If approved, the school year will still begin on August 17, but it will be entirely online and in-person learning will be delayed until at least October.

Julia Holbrook and Dina Kelly have kids in IPS schools. They talked about the impact of e-learning for them through the pandemic.

"It's been hard for me," Kelly said. "I have to create an activity, plans, a speech class, trying to get him to talk and use his words."

"There was the stress of the newness of the situation and that the schools were put in that position overnight, needing to pivot and go online," Holbrook said.

Holbrook said her kids used workbooks to finish out the last school year. She's hoping they get more screen time with their teachers if IPS decides on virtual learning.

For Kelly, the situation is a little tougher because her son has Down Syndrome. He's missing out on the usual one-on-one teaching he gets.

For more information read the full note sent to IPS parents below.

The Indianapolis Public Schools administration will recommend to the IPS Board of School Commissioners that the 2020-21 school year should begin with 100% remote learning for all district students when school starts on August. 17.

Commissioners will hear that recommendation and vote on it during the Board Action Session on Thursday, July 30.

If approved, in-person learning will be delayed until at least October, which will allow more time for the number of COVID-19 cases in Marion County to stabilize and decrease to a less dangerous level.

From the beginning, IPS Superintendent Aleesia Johnson has said the district would remain flexible and respond to the changing data with an emphasis on the health and safety of students and staff as our top priority.

Now that IPS is a 1:1 school district, all students will receive a device for the new school year. Students in Grades Pre-K-2 will receive an iPad; students in Grades 3-12 will receive a Chromebook. A MiFi mobile hot spot device will also be available to families who do not have access to internet service.

The district also plans to implement learning hubs as a supplement to remote learning for select students. These hubs will be physical spaces where some students who may struggle with remote instruction can go each day to access their digital classwork and receive help, as well as those who receive physical and mental interventions that they can’t otherwise get virtually. Space inside these hubs will be limited to adhere to COVID-19 health and safety precautions, including social distancing.

More details will be provided in the coming days on the 100% remote learning plan, including information about the distribution of devices and meals.