INDIANAPOLIS — One of the state’s largest school districts has decided to start the school year entirely online in an effort to keep students safe from the spread of coronavirus.
The board of commissioners for Indianapolis Public Schools voted in favor of a recommendation from Superintendent Aleesia Johnson that the district goes at least the first couple months of the fall semester online.
“Please know the decision to recommend full remote learning for all students for the beginning of the school year was incredibly difficult to make, given what we know is at stake for our students,” said Johnson. “Ultimately, we believe this decision is in the best interest of our students, staff, and families.”
The plan calls for students to return on a part-time basis by Oct. 2, given the numbers in Marion County indicate that it is safe to do so. The district saying more details will be laid out about the plan in the coming days. It’s not clear yet how the decision will impact the fall sports season or other extracurricular activities for the district.
The Marion County Health Department laid out it’s the latest update of the numbers and what that will mean for schools in the county. Dr. Virginia Caine, the county’s health director, explained a four-pillar rating system of the state of the county when it comes to the pandemic Thursday.
The four pillars are green, yellow, orange, and red. Caine explained Marion County is under the yellow pillar and with that, is recommending schools at least use a hybrid model of e-learning and in-person classes.
With IPS going all online, it forces some decisions to be made by parents within the district on how to manage their child’s online curriculum while also possibly managing a full-time job. Ashley Robertson is a single mom who runs an in-home daycare.
“This is hard on a lot of levels, for everyone,” Robertson said. “I’ve had to cut my workload in half. I’ve had to drop clients because I very much prioritize my kid’s education.”
Robertson told WISH-TV she has gone all out to try and make her child’s learning experience at home nearly the same as what they would experience in a real classroom. But, she said it will never truly be the same because of the lack of social interaction with other students.
“That’s why so many people were like: ‘Yes! I’m sending my kid to school’,” she added. “We all think our babies are special pumpkins but they are not. They all need to go out into the big wide world and learn how to be a part of a group.”
In the end, Robertson feels IPS made the right call with the decision to start the school year online, but she said it’s not something that can last.