kids looking at laptop
(Photo: Oleksandr Rupeta/Nurphoto via Getty Images)

As Indy Schools Shut Down, New E-Learning Sites Open

(INDIANAPOLIS) — Today’s the last day of in-person classes for most Indianapolis schools. The city
is adding more locations for students to keep up online.

The education nonprofit The Mind Trust is adding a dozen “community learning sites” in Marion
County, for a total of 22. The organization is using churches, community centers and Boys and Girls
Clubs to ensure kids have high-speed Internet and adult supervision they might lack when learning
from home.

The Marion County Health Department ordered schools last week to shut down by November 30 as
the county’s rate of positive coronavirus tests soared to nearly 14%. Most school districts,
including the Indianapolis Public Schools, will close Monday, a week ahead of the deadline.

The centers will average 36 students apiece. And Mayor Joe Hogsett says in addition to concerns
about rising infection rates among students, the e-learning sites reduce the risk of infection among
teachers and staff. He says the combination of infections and quarantines of staffers with virus cases
among their contacts has “decimated” manpower at many schools, to the point that some were
considering closing on their own, even before the health department order. He says he’d have
preferred not to close schools, but says a countywide order is preferable to the chaos of parents
pulling their kids in and out of schools in search of a district that was staying open.

The Mind Trust centers will be open through January 15. Hogsett says he’s hoping businesses or
charities will donate money to keep them open longer.

The Mind Trust says it can handle up to 800 students with the expansion. You need to sign up for a
slot at communitylearningsites.org.

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