On Wednesday, Avon Community Schools started the new school year with students in classrooms for the first time since March.
Per district spokesperson Stacey Forcey-Moore, 85% of families opted for in-person learning to start the school year. The other 15% chose a fully virtual option.
The district was the first in Indiana to close at the onset of the coronavirus pandemic when a student tested positive for the coronavirus and a second was showing symptoms of COVID-19. The student was the third positive test in the state. Wednesday’s statewide total topped 64,000 positive cases.
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Here are fiv takeaways from the first day:
This is just the start.
Avon Community Schools was the first district in Central Indiana to reopen for in-person classes since districts closed their buildings in March.
While several districts have delayed their start dates or opted for fully virtual starts to the school year, a handful of area districts are starting this week as well. And they’ll be followed by more districts in the first part of August.
There’s no easy answer.
At Avon, families could elect to send their students to school in-person five days a week or do fully virtual instruction. But for parents, choosing an option wasn’t easy. Parents told IndyStar that they factored in learning styles, class offerings, the impact on college prep and more to decide.
And with the ability to change through Aug. 7, parents said they still might do so.
‘Does she have it or not?’:Avon Schools was first district to close amid COVID-19. Now, it’s among first to reopen.
People are watching the numbers.
Parents and teachers who talked to IndyStar said they were watching the number of positive tests as well as the positivity rates as they made decisions about going back to school.
Per state data on Wednesday, 1,673 of the 64,299 positive cases in Indiana have been in Hendricks County. Although the number of cases in the county has stayed below 20 per day for the last two months, the seven-day moving average of cases has been on the rise since the beginning of July.
The state’s positivity rate is 8.9%. Hendricks County’s is 10.5%.
Teachers are scared.
With 85% of families opting to return to in-person classes, many classrooms are just as full as they were in March, said Lebo, the Avon Federation of Teachers president.
“(Teachers) are scared and we continue to be scared, mostly due to the fact that we can’t social distance,” she said, adding that teachers are only armed with a mask, hand sanitizer and cleaner.
Parents have questions.
Parents who spoke to IndyStar agreed that the teachers are doing a good job and that the district has been good about communication.
But it’s not the communication they’re worried about. Parents said they still want to know more about who is accountable for decisions the district made. They also said they wanted more details about what happens if there is a positive case.