Some students will be returning to in-person classes at Indianapolis Public Schools October 5. Parents had a chance to bring their concerns to IPS administrators Tuesday night during a Zoom meeting.
Several families asked what the district is doing to make sure the experience is the same for both virtual and in-person students.
“They will be able to see their classmates that are at school, they’ll be a part of that same classroom, they’ll be following along with their teacher, their teacher will be doing direct instruction, they should be able to see whatever their teacher is doing in the classroom as well as what they’re projecting on the screen,” answered Chief Academics Officer Warren Morgan.
Questions about students with special needs and other vulnerabilities were also brought up. Those students will have the option to come to class in person every day except Wednesday, which remains a virtual learning day for the entire district. They also have the option to remain virtual, although school officials advise against that.
“We are recommending, particularly for our special needs students, that in-person is the best way to make sure they’re getting all the services and the IEP (Individualized Education Plan) so if you chose remote, there may need to be accommodations made that require coming into the building more just because that’s what the IEP calls for,” said Morgan.
IPS leaders are also encouraging any parent who can drive their kid to school to take their kid to school. If they can’t, however, administrators said there are several safety protocols on buses such as social distancing on buses, opening windows to increase ventilation, masks and assigned seats. Additional bus monitors have also been hired.
“It’s the first time we’ve ever done that to monitor student safety, assign seats, make sure students are in those seats and they’ll take a digital attendance so that in the event that there is contact tracing we will have that information daily, per route, per school, ” said Chief Operations Officer Scott Martin.
Students in pre-K through third grade will eat in their classrooms, while older students will eat in the cafeteria spaced-out. All virtual students will still be able to pick up meals each week at designated locations.
The district is holding a transportation town hall at 5:30 p.m. on Oct. 6.
(WISH-TV’s Demie Johnson contributed to this story)