Lake County public school districts in Northwest Indiana announced Monday students will return to in-person learning this fall amid coronavirus concerns.
After Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb approved the reopening of all Indiana schools this fall, 16 Lake County school districts and the Northwest Indiana Special Education Cooperation provided guidelines regarding the most effective way for students to return to school.
"We believe that students learn best when they are in the school setting," the Lake County letter read. "Further, the socialization aspects of school are critical in a student’s life."
As of Monday, all Lake County schools will be starting on their scheduled date, abiding by the following guidelines:
- All staff and students must have a mask at all times and wear them when in close proximity to others
- Observe social distancing "to the greatest extent"
- Maximize instructional space and scheduling flexibility
- Enhance cleaning procedures and with greater frequency
- Wash hands throughout the day
- Prohibit the use of water fountains
- Adjust lunch schedules to maximize social distancing
- Identify and have separate clinic spaces for students with COVID-19 symptoms to be tested
- Restrict visitors to school buildings
- Discontinue perfect attendance awards
- Require students and staff to be fever free for 72 hours without the use of medication before returning to school
School districts that signed this letter include those in Crown Point, East Chicago, Gary, Griffith, Hanover, Hammond, Highland, Hobart, Lake Central, Lake Ridge, Lake Station, Merrillville, Munster, River Forest Tri-Creek and Whiting.