Parents react to IPS releasing its COVID-19 protocols for the upcoming school year: ‘This is a step in the right direction’

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INDIANAPOLIS – Parents now know Indianapolis Public Schools’ COVID protocol plan for the upcoming school year.

For the district, the focus is on returning to 100 percent in-person learning – safely.

 “That’s what these new protocols aim to do,” said Patrick Jones II, the Senior Vice President of Leadership and Equity at The Mind Trust. He’s also a parent of two Indianapolis Public School students.

 He understands that the protocols could change based on health guidance, however, he’s confident of the district and his kids.

 “They’re not playing about their safety. My kids, I would imagine even my vaccinated child will wear a mask to school,” Jones added.

 IPS has decided that vaccinated students may opt-out of wearing a mask, as long as they provide proof. Unvaccinated children must still wear one. The same goes for educators and staff. Masks will be required for everyone while riding the bus.

 “I personally believe this is a step in the right direction,” said Ashley Thomas.  As a parent of three IPS kids, and the Regional Organizing Director for Stand for Children Indiana, Thomas believes masks are part of the uniform now.

“I think this pandemic has really developed their love for school and being in the building and appreciating the teachers even more,” Thomas added.

 There will be seating charts for classrooms, cafeterias, and while on the bus.  Schools will practice contact tracing and social distancing of 3-feet, when possible.

 “Definitely take some time to review the protocols and have conversations with your kids about how they feel about safety and know going back to school if you’re comfortable with that,” said Jones, “It’s not your only option.”

 In May, the IPS school board approved a partnership with two virtual learning options and -there isn’t a deadline to sign up. However, if you enroll, you’re giving up your current IPS school seat and would need to take steps to return to in-person learning.

 “There’s been a lot of anxiety that have been developed over the time that we’ve been in this pandemic as well, and it’s important for those transitions to happen when the family feels safe,” said Thomas.

 To opt-out of wearing a mask, parents have to provide proof of vaccination for their child.

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