Perry Township students among first in Indiana to head back to school

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INDIANAPOLIS — Perry Township Schools kicks off the return to school Monday with a red carpet event. 

Superintendent Pat Mapes says they’ve had record numbers at their open house events, so they can tell that the students are excited to be back as well. 

He says they made a lot of changes to the schools to keep everyone safe including new water bottle filling stations and refilling the hand sanitizer stations. 

Masks will be optional for the students and staff. 

“So if you feel like you need to wear one — you can. We do have some kids who have expressed that they will be wearing masks, as well as staff. That’s perfectly fine,” Mapes said. 

Mapes says they will monitor the COVID positivity rates at each building and adjust accordingly if need be. The Perry Township School Board has left an option to return the mask mandate if they need it.  

Mapes says he wants the students to feel safe and comfortable, and they want to return back to normal as best they can, including in the cafeteria. 

“We’re going to try to return to normal. So we’re going to still try to have our kids in our cafeteria to eat. Get them out of the classrooms. And go back to having, for our elementary kids, our recess time right after lunch time. And just monitor how things progress by having them in the cafeteria setting.” 

Mapes also says they are looking to hire additional staff to help address the learning gap some students may have from being virtual.  

“We will start again with our formative assessment and evaluate and see where our students are in language arts and mathematics, so we can start meeting their needs academically, aligned with the state standards, to start moving them forward and growing them.” 

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