WESTFIELD, Ind. — With the start of school at least a month away, Indiana school districts are planning how they will move forward in this next school year with COVID-19 still around.
Things being considered are the loosening of restrictions by the state and local governments, ending of mask mandates, and vaccination rates and availability.
For districts like Westfield Washington Schools, the decision was made to move to 100 percent in-school learning. That decision is for pre-K through 12th grade for the 2021-22 school year.
Beginning July 1, masks will be voluntary in all schools and district buildings. They will remain mandatory on district school buses.
"As I have the rounds throughout the district, it is evident that our teachers and staff have done a great job rolling with the punches and adapting to all of the latest directives" said new superintendent Dr. Paul Kaiser. "We are fortunate that we are at the point in this experience where restrictions are loosening and operations are beginning to look more familiar. Students, staff, teachers and administrators are encouraged to do what makes them comfortable, so long as you are following all prescribed guidelines."
Westfield Washington Schools is not alone. Other school boards are considering similar changes ahead of the next school year.
Brownsburg Community School Corporation is also moving to all in-person instruction for the 2021-22 school year. It will not be providing an online option for students.
Face coverings will also be optional as of July 1 for students and staff at the BCSC campuses.
Students who have a documented medical condition for which it would not be fully safe for them to return to school can have their parents or guardians to complete a form and submit it by July 9 for consideration. The district will respond by July 16.
Brownsburg Community School Corporation said it is hopeful restrictions will also be lessened pertaining to social distancing, contact tracing and quarantining of students due to exposure. Students who have been vaccinated and have provided that information to the school nurse, will not be quarantined and can remain in school.
Avon schools is also looking at only recommending masks for unvaccinated students. Elementary students would still have social distancing and pods for contact tracing. For 7-12 grades, students will be able to return to normal seating. Only students who did e-learning the last school year and already approved for e-learning this year will have that option. The district will also only allow students who attend school in-person to participate in extracurricular activities.