Face coverings and virtual classes made the 2020-21 school year one like no other thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic, but Carmel Clay Schools Supt. Michael Beresford expects to begin taking steps to return to the “old normal” when students return in the fall.
The district does not plan to offer a virtual option for any grade level for the 2021-22 school year, and vaccinated students and teachers will be able to attend unmasked and avoid quarantining if exposed to COVID-19.
CCS is following the preliminary guidance for schools released by the Indiana State Dept. of Health, and Beresford said the recommendations are likely to change again before summer vacation ends.
For the 2020-21 school year, all students had the option to take all classes virtually. Elementary students attending in person went to the school building every day, while middle and high school students followed a hybrid schedule that rotated between in person and virtual school days.
CCS finished the most recent school year with face coverings required for all students and staff. Going forward, ISDH is recommending all unvaccinated students continue to wear masks, which includes all children younger than 12, as a COVID-19 vaccine for that age group has not been approved.
Beresford said CCS hasn’t received guidance from ISDH on how to track student vaccinations and that means the district will likely have to use the honor system.
CCS officials are expected to update their COVID-19 safety plan this week and throughout the summer as needed. Beresford said the information will be posted to the district’s website and that feedback from parents is welcome. Beresford expects to have the updated safety plan ready to present to the school board by the July 24 meeting.
“We’re optimistic based on what’s happening around us,” Beresford said. “We aren’t medical professionals, we’re educators, and we’ll make the best decisions we can.”