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INDIANAPOLIS — The Marion County Public Health Department has issued its initial guidance to help Marion County schools operate safely this upcoming school year.

The department issued the guidance as the contagious Delta variant continues to take hold in the state. Among the recommendations are cohorting of students, maintaining social distancing of three feet, and mask use for students, teachers, and staff who are unvaccinated. The guidance also lays out a recommended quarantine of at least 10 days for staff and students who come in contact with a confirmed COVID-19 case.

“To keep Marion County moving in a positive direction as the contagious Delta variant continues to take hold in Indiana, it is more important than ever that we take precautions to prevent the spread of COVID19 and provide access to the COVID-19 vaccines,” said Dr. Virginia Caine, Director and Chief Medical Officer of the Health Department. “We will continue to monitor the prevalence and impact of Delta and other new variants while educating residents on the benefits of the COVID-19 vaccines. The Health Department encourages school administrators and staff to keep in mind this guidance for Marion County schools as they begin the 2021-2022 school year in person.”

The department continues to recommend all eligible Marion County residents to visit and find a nearby COVID-19 vaccine clinic. The vaccine is free to everyone and free childcare is also available to help parents and caregivers get vaccinated and recuperate from any short-term side effects. More information can be found at

Included in the initial guidance is the following:

  • Social distancing: recommend cohorting of all students and social distancing of at least three
  • Masks/face coverings: masks are recommended indoors for all unvaccinated students, teachers, and staff, as well as any individual with an underlying condition regardless of vaccination status. Masks are also recommended for unvaccinated individuals and those with underlying health
    conditions in outdoor crowded settings.
  • Visitors: masks and social distancing of six feet are recommended for all visitors indoors –
    parents/guardians, community partners, volunteers – regardless of vaccination status.
  • Athletics/extracurricular activities: student athletes are not required to wear masks during
    practice or games. It is recommended that band, orchestra, and choir groups limit indoor
    practices and performances to 90 minutes.
  • Transportation: masks are required for students, bus drivers, and staff on any school-sponsored
    transportation by federal government mandate.
  • Sanitizing: all high touch surfaces should be sanitized frequently. Hand sanitizer should continue
    to be available for students and staff.
  • Isolation: individuals who test positive for COVID-19 should isolate for a minimum of 10 days
    following the onset of symptoms, or from the test collection date, if asymptomatic.
  • Quarantine: individuals identified as a close contact of a confirmed COVID-19 case should quarantine for a minimum of 10 days after the most recent exposure. A 14-day quarantine is the most protective option. Individuals who can provide documentation that they are fully vaccinated do not need to quarantine unless symptoms develop.

People can read the full recommendations below: