IPS students head back to class Monday amid pandemic, changes

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Indianapolis Public Schools (IPS) welcomes back students on Monday. 

The first day of school will be 100% in-person, however, the school district is now requiring all students and staff to wear masks indoors and on buses, regardless of vaccination status.

The district said they made this decision based on the latest guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Indiana State Health Department and the Marion County Public Health Department. 

IPS said it still encourages students to provide proof of vaccination, as mask guidance could change later in the school year. The district said social distancing, hand sanitizing and contact tracing will be a priority in the buildings.

“You know, we were sort of watching what our health leaders and health experts were saying over the course of the last week,” said Dr. Aleesia Johnson, IPS superintendent. “And after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention came out with their guidance and that was followed up by Marion County Public Health and then followed again the Indiana Department of Health, it felt like it was the right move to make, to go ahead and move to masking for everyone.”

Also, new this year is how a lot of students will get to school. The district said about 200 high school students will take IndyGo buses to school. An additional 2,000 students will now walk to school. It’s all part of a plan to cut transportation costs for the district.

“To say I am excited to have our students and staff return to 100% in-person learning is definitely an understatement. I am ecstatic about it!,” said Dr. Aleesia Johnson, IPS superintendent in a video tweeted by the district.  

Several school districts in and around Marion County have changed their mask policies since the CDC on Tuesday recommended that all students and staff in school return to wearing masks and that vaccinated people return to wearing masks indoors in parts of the U.S. where the coronavirus is surging.

While there are a lot of changes to the 2021-2022 school year, IPS said they hope to still focus on academics after a year of interrupted learning and that the goal this year is both safety and learning.
Click here to see the full IPS COVID-19 policy.