While You Were Sleeping: Coronavirus updates for September 29

Coronavirus

Back to school. On October 5, students in kindergarten through third grade in the Indianapolis Public Schools system can return to the classroom. The district begins its phased approach to welcoming students back to school.

“We know for those younger learners, the idea of routine and actually the in-person learning is really important to that developmental stage and also just understanding school and the repetition,” Warren Morgan, Chief Academics Officer, said.

Marion County Public Health Department Director Dr. Virginia Caine approved students in kindergarten through 8th grade returning full time to in-person classes beginning today. Still, IPS decided to go with a stricter timeline.

“We have taken a slightly more conservative approach where the younger students could be in person but the older elementary would be full time virtual,” Superintendent Aleesia Johnson said.

The week of October 12 was supposed to be Fall Break, so the district is moving all students back to virtual learning. Then the week of October 19, students in 4th grade through 12th grade return to school. Those students in 7th through 12th grade will do a hybrid schedule.

District leaders said they will be nimble with their planning as they follow guidelines set by the Marion County Health Department. If a student or staff member tests positive for COVID19, they will have to isolate for at least 10 days.

Circle of Lights goes virtual. This year, Downtown Indy Inc.’s Circle of Lights won’t have in-person attendance due to the pandemic.

Instead, the event will air on TV.

The electrical workers and volunteers of IBEW 481 will continue the tradition of decorating the Soldiers & Sailors Monument with 52 garland strands with 4,784 LED lights, strung from the top of the Monument to its base. The Monument will continue to be surrounded with 26 larger-than-life toy soldiers and sailors and 26 peppermint sticks. 

The lights on Monument Circle will be illuminated Friday night, Nov. 27. A child selected from the IPL Coloring Contest will help flip the switch.

Purdue students suspended. Purdue University suspended 14 students, including 13 student-athletes, Monday for violating the Protect Purdue Pledge

Associate Vice Provost and Dean of Students Katie Sermersheim issued the suspensions after Purdue staff discovered a party in a residence hall on Saturday, September 26.

Sermersheim said per the university Code of Conduct, students who violate the requirements of the Protect Purdue Pledge are subject to disciplinary action.

“This virus continues to be the demise of many universities and academic pursuits,” Sermersheim said.  

“The majority of our students are behaving admirably in following the Pledge and helping protect the Purdue community,” she said. “For that, we are grateful, but we cannot let our guard down and must hold those who violate our community standards accountable.” 

Death toll tops 1 million. The worldwide death toll from the coronavirus eclipsed 1 million on Tuesday, nine months into a crisis that has devastated the global economy, tested world leaders’ resolve, pitted science against politics and forced multitudes to change the way they live, learn and work.

“It’s not just a number. It’s human beings. It’s people we love,” said Dr. Howard Markel, a professor of medical history at the University of Michigan who has advised government officials on containing pandemics and lost his 84-year-old mother to COVID-19 in February.

“It’s our brothers, our sisters. It’s people we know,” he added. “And if you don’t have that human factor right in your face, it’s very easy to make it abstract.”

The bleak milestone, recorded by Johns Hopkins University, is greater than the population of Jerusalem or Austin, Texas. It is 2 1/2 times the sea of humanity that was at Woodstock in 1969. It is more than four times the number killed in the 2004 earthquake and tsunami in the Indian Ocean.

Even then, the figure is almost certainly a vast undercount because of inadequate or inconsistent testing and reporting and suspected concealment by some countries.

And the number continues to mount. Nearly 5,000 deaths are reported each day on average. Parts of Europe are getting hit by a second wave, and experts fear the same fate may await the U.S., which accounts for about 205,000 deaths, or 1 out of 5 worldwide. That is far more than any other country, despite America’s wealth and medical resources.

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