Avon teacher shares concerns ahead of return to in-person learning

AVON, Ind. (WISH) — Students in the Avon Community School Corporation will be the first to head back to class in Hendricks County on Wednesday. Families had the option to keep their students at home or send them back to the building.

According to Avon High School teacher Malari Williams, only about 350 students chose the online option, meaning nearly 2,900 plus staff will be back in the school come Wednesday. Williams also heads Avon’s science department and has some concerns about the COVID-19 data she has seen over the last week.

With cases continuing to rise across the state and surrounding counties announcing an all-virtual start, Williams thought Hendricks County would soon follow but that didn’t happen.

She went back to her classroom for the first time Monday only to feel unprepared for what’s to come. Williams tells News 8 she is spending more time on her safety plan than her lesson plan.

“Even just this morning when I walked into my room I thought ‘OK, every time I use anything, I have to sanitize it.’ I have to sanitize my phone, my keyboard my dry erase markers, like I can’t let the students use those.”

Williams said in her room eight of the tables are bolted to the floor and with an average class size of between 20 and 30 students, there isn’t room to properly space them.

“You cannot social distance in our classrooms. I’m speaking mainly from the high school because that’s what I know but I have friends who work in other buildings in the corporation,” said Williams.

Several other teachers and families joined Williams to protest outside the Hendricks County Health Department on Friday. News 8 reached out for a comment but we haven’t heard back yet.

Williams said every student in the corporation has an e-learning device and was given the option to not come back to the building but teachers were only offered an unpaid leave of absence.

A spokesperson from the school corporation shared this statement with News 8:

“ACSC continues to follow the direction of our local and state health officials and we are moving forward with our reopening plans. ACSC’s first day of school is Wednesday, July 29th. We are happy to welcome back our students either in person or virtually.”