(INDIANAPOLIS) — Indianapolis will continue capacity limits on bars and restaurants for the time being. But high schools might be able to resume in-person classes soon.
High schools have been capped at half capacity because of the pandemic. Marion County Health
Department guidelines issued two months ago said they couldn’t go back to normal till positivity rates drop below 5% for two weeks. The rate has been hovering just above that mark — it’s currently 5.1%.
But director Virginia Caine says infection rates in schools have been low, with high schools holding
steady around five or six cases a week — lower grades have had fewer than that. She credits a full
range of precautions instituted at schools, including alternating days of in-person and at-home learning, improved ventilation, regular disinfecting of surfaces, and faithful observance of mask requirements by both students and teachers.
Caine says the numbers have been encouraging enough that she’ll review over the next week or two
whether to allow high schools to go back to normal.
Caine and Mayor Joe Hogsett say the five-percent standard remains the target before any consideration of lifting capacity limits and a midnight closing time for bars and restaurants. While infection rates have been soaring statewide, the biggest increases have been in southwest Indiana. Indianapolis has been holding steady, but Caine says the number of cases has been rising. The department has set a target of averaging 35 new cases a day. The average is still nearly four times that, after dropping as low as 85.
Hogsett says he understands the continuing restrictions are “a hardship and a nuisance,” for both
residents and businesses. But he says the pandemic requires people to prioritize others’ health over
their own comfort.