County schools can reopen for in-person instruction on Jan. 4—11 days sooner than the previously set date of Jan. 15, the Marion County Public Health Department announced Thursday.
Dr. Virginia Caine, the director of the county health department, said since the Centers for Disease Control has shortened its recommended COVID-19 quarantine from 14 days to a range of seven to 10 days, schools can now reopen sooner.
The department had set the original date based on it being about 14 days after the holidays ended.
But the city’s central district, Indianapolis Public Schools, said it didn’t expect to move up its schedule for returning to buildings, and still plans for campuses to open Jan. 19. Learning will remain virtual until then.
In declining to reopen schools sooner than planned, Indianapolis Public Schools officials said they will reevaluate after looking at circumstances and data after the winter break.
Warren Township schools also told families Thursday that it would stick to its plan to remain in virtual learning through at least Jan. 15. Officials said they are basing their decision on district-level COVID data and staffing challenges.
As of Dec. 2, the testing-positivity rate in Marion County had increased to 14.6%, up from a range of 11% to 12% in November.
Caine said data shows it’s safe to be in the schools despite the increase in the positivity rate.
When schools return, students and staff must social distance, and masks will be required for all staff and students in third grade and above. Parents, students and teachers are encouraged to avoid any unnecessary contact outside of their household 10 days prior to the Jan. 4th return.
“We feel comfortable our kids can come back on Jan. 4,” Caine told reporters.