Carmel Clay Schools considering return to full-time, in-person instruction for secondary students


COVID-19 numbers are heading in the right direction for Carmel Clay Schools to begin considering a full return to the classroom for middle and high school students.

Dr. Michael Beresford
Dr. Michael Beresford

CCS Supt. Michael Beresford told the school board at the March 8 meeting that administrators are working to develop a plan to allow secondary students to return to the classroom full time if they choose.

Currently, secondary students have the option to take all classes virtually or go to school in-person every other day and learn online the other days. Elementary students may choose between fully virtual or fully in-person options.

“We’re going to go to the health professionals and make sure we’re going to do this the right way and do it safely,” Beresford said.

Beresford pointed to the decreasing number of COVID-19 cases among CCS students and employees in recent weeks and recent recommendations from the Indiana State Dept. of Health to keep students 3 feet apart in classrooms rather than the 6 feet previously recommended.

For the week ending March 5, 11 COVID-19 cases were reported among CCS students and employees, down from 17 the previous week. The peak occurred the week ending Nov. 20, 2020, when 78 students and employees reported positive cases.

District officials don’t have a start date targeted for the return of full-time in-person instruction. CCS will continue to offer a fully virtual option for students who choose not to return to the school building. It has not been decided whether the hybrid option would continue.

Although COVID-19 cases are falling, Beresford said it’s important for the community to continue practicing measures to prevent its spread, especially during spring break, set for April 2 to 9.

“We’ve always had a surge of cases two weeks after a break,” Beresford said. “With spring break coming up, it’ll be important as folks make those decisions for spring break and where they go that they still maintain those safety guidelines and keep pushing those numbers down.”