As another school moves to virtual learning, local health department works to keep schools open

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INDIANAPOLIS — MSD of Warren Township schools have now become the latest system to send a large portion of its students to virtual learning.

On Sunday, MSD of Warren TWP Superintendent Dr. Tim Hanson told parents grades 5-12 will be learning remotely through Friday, January 14. Kindergarten through fourth grade will remain in-person

It’s a dividing line for parents – in school or out of school. Each parent focused on what they think is best for their kids.

”Closing down is not the solution, there needs to be other solutions,” said Laura Coble, her son is a sophomore at Warren Central High School.

Coble said her son learns much better in-person and after being virtual for his freshman year, she doesn’t want to go down that road again.

”I just got him caught up, now here we are again and its cancelled again,” Coble said. “My child does not learn at home, he can’t and I’m at work, there’s no way I can teach him and make a living, I can’t do it.”

It’s a frustrating time for Coble, the same can be said for Katie Mardis.

”I want my baby to be safe, I want my friend’s babies to be safe,” said Mardis, the parent of a MSD of Warren TWP kindergartener.

Her student is still learning in person, but that is what worries her.

”I want them to be precautious as possible,” Mardis said.

In a statement to families, Superintendent Hanson said they made the decision “due to a large number of staffing needs”

According to the COVID-19 database on the district website, there are more than 300 COVID positive students and staff in the school system after last week. This is compared to just 30 the week before winter break.

This is when Mardis wanted the entirety of the school system to go to virtual learning.

”And then I saw the data that Warren Township released for their COVID cases from last week and that’s really what kind of got me in a frenzy,” Mardis said.

She said her child got COVID in September and has since developed asthma.

”Lets get past everyone being around families for the holidays, Christmas, New Years,” Mardis said.

Coble wants everyone to be safe, but also wants more ways to prevent school going virtual. She said easier access to tests could help clear up whether or not certain people need to quarantine.

”Find a way to test these people and get them back,” Coble said

The Fishers Health Department is working on a way to do that for its community.

It now has more than three hours of priority testing each day only for students and school staff in Fishers.

”Our hope is that each person needing a test will be able to find one the next day,” said Monica Heltz, the Fishers Health Department Director. She said this helps students and staff get back in the classroom or know if they do need to quarantine.

”If you’re concerned you may have COVID you need to have those results sooner or if you’re concerned you’ve been exposed to COVID and you could possibly be carrying it you need to have those results sooner,” she said.

Still, the testing demand right now is too much for the appointment times they have.

”I can’t add enough appointments for what the demand is right now,” Heltz.

But, Heltz knows whatever priority testing they can provide will be a help in keeping kids in school and schools open.

”We’re all trying to figure out what we can do and how we can do it in order to keep those kids in school,” she said.

We reached out to MSD of Warren Township leadership for an interview and they have not gotten back to us.

For parents of MSD of Warren Township students who are learning virtually this week, there is a meal pick up to help feed those students on Thursday. “Grab-and-go breakfasts and lunches will be available at Stonybrook, Creston, Raymond Park, Renaissance, and at Warren Central High School from 11 a.m. – 1 p.m,” according to a statement from the school.

Anderson Community Schools will also have remote learning on Tuesday due to COVID-related staff absences, according to a tweet.

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