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Safely returning back to school for new school year

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Posted at 6:39 PM, Jun 30, 2021
and last updated 2021-06-30 18:39:17-04

INDIANAPOLIS — We are now one month out from some schools starting back up at the end of July, and WRTV is looking into what some return-to-school plans are and how people feel about it.

“My daughter, she’s going into middle school and she got great grades this past year but I know that she is behind,” Terrysa Armstrong, a parent in the Hamilton-Southeastern school district said.

Armstrong is happy her kids are returning to the classroom five days a week this fall, saying they learn better in person. But that still doesn’t come without some concerns.

“I am slightly concerned about my kids going back without masks or being around classmates without masks,” she said. “I’m going to ask my children to wear their mask while they’re at school.”

Armstrong is immuno-compromised, and with the Delta variant now spreading more throughout the state, she said, “I know that my teenager is vaccinated but my small children aren’t obviously. And so, what are they going to bring home to their grandparents or to me?”

“Of course it will always be a concern," Randy Harrison said. “That’s not left lightly on any of us. But again trying to follow the science and trust the guidance of the CDC.”

Harrison is a teacher in Anderson Community Schools and the president of the teachers union there. He said the district did a survey and 86% of its faculty and staff are fully vaccinated. They even offered a stipend for staff who got vaccinated.

“We are leaning towards entering next school year making masks strongly recommended for anybody and that includes students that have not been vaccinated,” Harrison said.

But Anderson Community Schools is not requiring masks for students and staff. He hopes those who could be at risk are vaccinated to protect themselves.

“We are hopeful that the students that can get vaccinated will,” Harrison explained. “Because our fear is maybe not our own families and own situation because we are vaccinated, but what if they send it home with a student in their classroom and their grandparents.”

“We want to go back to normal life but we’ve got to be careful or else we’re going to go right back on lockdown,” Armstrong said.

An IPS spokesperson sent WRTV the following statement:

Indianapolis Public Schools is awaiting COVID-19 guidance for schools from the Marion County Public Health Department (MCPHD). We will use information provided by MCPHD to finalize our COVID protocols for the 2021–22 school year and share with district staff and families in the coming weeks.