Tour of IPS school before district welcomes students back to classroom on Monday

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INDIANAPOLIS – Starting Monday, pre-K through third grade will return to in-person learning at Indianapolis Public Schools. All students will not go back to the classroom until the week of October 19.

Daniel Webster School 46 is preparing for 130 kids to return to the classroom next week. Less than 25 students in grades kindergarten through third grade opted for virtual learning. It will be the first time these teachers get to see their students in person since March.

CBS4 was able to tour the school on Friday to see how teachers and staff are preparing. There are procedures for almost everything.

Stickers on the floors show kids which direction to walk in hallways. Grades K-8 will grab lunch in the cafeteria and then eat in their classroom. Students in high school will eat in the cafeteria socially distanced. There are also touch-less water fountains and an isolation room in case a child shows symptoms of COVID-19.

“With that social distancing already in place is really one of the big things we are doing to make sure we can contact trace,” said Allyson Peterkin, principal of Daniel Webster School 46.

Students will not share supplies and all work will be done on computers rather than paper handouts. In the classrooms, there are desks instead of communal tables to enhance social distancing.

“It will definitely be easier when we come back because there are some kiddos who struggle with the online format,” said Kristen Villanueva, a fifth-grade teacher at Daniel Webster School 46.

Her students will not return to the classroom until October 19 so she has a few more weeks to prepare. She’s anxious to see her class again after conducting lessons virtually for months.

“I have been slowly making a to-do list and just doing little things,” she said. “This feels really good. This is my place. This is my school.”

School officials believe it will be very helpful to only have a few grades return to school on Monday. Usually, 400 kids attend class at Daniel Webster School 46. Principal Peterkin said 320 students have opted in for in-person instruction and most of them will not be taking the bus to and from school.

“Really lets us see which procedures and processes might need to be tweaked before all of the students are back,” said Peterkin.

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