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Carmel Clay, Noblesville eye plans to put all students back in classrooms

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Getting teachers vaccinated is a big step to getting all students back in school full time.

Indianapolis Public Schools already announced it plans to bring kids in middle schools and high school back to classrooms after spring break, after welcoming elementary students back to classrooms in January.

Now, Carmel Clay Schools are working on a plan to do the same. Families at Carmel Clay Schools shared mixed reactions after finding out the school administration is working on a plan to get Grades 6-12 back into the classroom full time.

Myla McKinney has three kids in Carmel Clay Schools. She said the hybrid education model has been challenging for them. McKinney said the sooner the students are back in class full time the better. “It’s a good way to start the summer where they can feel like they are not alone anymore and reestablish relationships with friends they had before all this begun. It’s a good trial run for next year and help us work out all of the kinks.”

McKinney said she understands the hesitation from some members of the community but think getting back into classrooms is the right thing to do at this point. “That is a very hard decision to send your child back into a COVID-era school. But we’ve got to do something because the kids are just falling more and more behind academically because they are not in school the full time.”

The administration at Carmel Clay said parents will be notified when the transition plan is finalized.

But, Carmel Clay Schools are not the only ones considering this. Noblesville Schools sent a message to parents and staff telling them it is looking at next steps with the goal of getting back to normal schedules, when it is safe.

The president of the Indiana Teacher Association, Keith Gambill, said school administrations and parents need to proceed with caution. “An appointment to be vaccinated is not the same as being vaccinated. I know that teachers and all staff are wanting to get everything back as close to normal as soon as possible. The CDC (U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) is pretty clear we need to make sure we don’t get out too far ahead of things. We don’t want to make the wrong decision this close to the finish line.”

He said there are a lot of questions that need to be considered. “How classrooms need to be set up when you’re welcoming more students into the classrooms, that needs to be considered. The lunchroom, when you would have had half as many seats filled you may have all of the seats filled; what does that look like?”