Back to School in the Time of COVID-19

Back to school looks a lot different this year.

Indiana Governor Eric Holcomb ordered Indiana schools to close earlier this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Many parents suddenly found themselves working from home while supervising their students’ virtual classes. Others struggled to find childcare and time to help students with their homework due to jobs that were deemed essential.

As the 2020-2021 school year begins, Indiana school districts are creating re-entry plans in order to provide the safest possible in-class experience for students, teachers, and their families. Each school district will create a plan that addresses its capabilities to meet the recommendations made in the Indiana’s Considerations for Learning and Safe Schools (IN-CLASS) document for preparing school operations during the pandemic.

Students and employees should not enter school buildings if they test positive for COVID-19, have a fever of 100.4 or higher, or exhibit three or more symptoms of COVID-19 that are not otherwise explained. These symptoms include:

  • Fever of 100.4 or higher
  • Shortness of breath/difficulty breathing
  • Headache
  • Chills
  • Cough
  • Repeated shaking with chills
  • Muscle pain
  • New loss of taste or smell

Here’s how local school corporations are preparing for the new school year.

Batesville Community School Corporation

The Batesville Blueprint was designed to bring Bulldogs back to school safely. In-class instruction will being on Wednesday, August 5th. Masks or face shields will be required on all Batesville Community School Corporation buses and in all buildings. Exceptions will be made for meals, snacks, drinks, and medical reasons. Mask breaks will be provided throughout the school day.

Jac-Cen-Del Community School Corporation

Jac-Cen-Del will resume in-class instruction on Wednesday, August 5th. Students also have the option to participate in an online hybrid learning program, where virtual attendance is required in some classrooms. Students who are unable to attend school in person or online hybrid during the traditional school day may request The Academy at JCD. With this program, students work independently through a school approved online curriculum provider.

Milan Community School Corporation

The school year will begin for Milan students on Tuesday, August 11th. An online learning option is available for families who want to limit student contact with others due to medical concerns. Students will be expected to log on during each class and complete daily coursework. Get the details about Milan’s plans here.

South Ripley Community School Corporation

South Ripley students will begin the school year with in-class instruction on Wednesday, August 5th, 2020. South Ripley will also provide a full-time online learning option for students whose parents who wish to limit their child’s contact with others due to COVID-19.

If the school needs to be closed due to the virus, instruction will transition to eLearning during that time. You can read more about South Ripley’s plan here.

Ripley County Schools Precautions

Each school is approaching the new school year a little different, but all Ripley County schools anticipate that the school year will consist of the standard 180 days of instruction. However, if necessary the calendars may be reviewed and adjusted for virtual/hybrid instruction, longer or shorter breaks, etc. based on current community health status.

Social distancing is simply not always possible in the school environment, but Ripley County schools are taking action to provide greater distance between students wherever possible. These actions include rearranging classroom setup, assigned seating, reducing the amount of shared materials, frequent sanitizing of shared spaces, and more.

Policies and procedures will be reviewed to add more flexibility. Buildings will be thoroughly cleaned and disinfected before school begins and frequently throughout the school year.