Warren Township requires masks as students return to school

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INDIANAPOLIS — Teachers and staff in Warren Township have been gearing up for students to return to school Wednesday. For many, it’s their first time back since being virtual. 

Students will be greeted by signs telling them to wear masks, but with or without masks, teachers say they’re happy to bring back more hands-on learning 

“I’m so excited to have them back,” said Sunny Heights Elementary STEM Teacher Kelsey Walters 

As she got her new class ready for the start of this year, she had to keep in mind COVID protocols. 

“So I had to like, figure out where do I want everything to be, how do I want the kids to sit. Which is again another challenge with everything that’s going on,” Walters said. 

Superintendent Dr. Tim Hanson says after consulting with teachers, parents, building leaders and reviewing guidance from the CDC, American Academy of Pediatrics, Marion County Public Health Department and others, they decided to keep mask mandates and social distancing. 

“As you know, COVID is ever-changing. Unfortunately, right now, our COVID data in Marion County is trending up,” said Dr. Hanson. 

“So, hopefully, that reverses and goes the other direction, and we’ll re-evaluate where we are and potentially, we can be either removing restrictions, keeping them the same or worst-case scenario increasing them.”  

Despite the restrictions, more students have opted-in for in-person learning this year compared to last spring. 

Which Walters says is good especially with the subject she teaches. 

“As a STEM teacher, there’s a lot of collaboration. So, I had to think about what’s the safest way to have them sitting, but also what’s going to work best for the classroom,” said Walters. 

“To have them actually be able to get their hands on a project, work together, share ideas with each other, and then see the same final product, you can’t do that virtually.”  

Dr. Hanson says they will provide hand sanitizer, face masks to those who need them and continue with a lot of the protocols they had in place at the end of last year. But they will monitor covid transmission and look at changing that in the future. 

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