What Will School Look Like In St. Joseph Co. This Fall? Here Are Some Answers

Jun 30, 2020

Credit Jeanie Lindsay/IPB News

Schools in St. Joseph County, Indiana are preparing to reopen in the fall under pandemic conditions. Public schools in St. Joseph County released plans  Tuesday outlining how officials will try to limit exposure to COVID-19. 

School officials say they’ve worked with the St. Joseph County Health Department to create strategies aimed at preventing the spread of the virus.

Some of those measures include mandatory face masks for staff and students and no perfect attendance incentives. Students and faculty will also need to be fever-free for 72 hours before returning to school.

This plan is the same for all four public school districts in St. Joe County - South Bend, Mishawaka, John Glenn, and Penn Harris Madison.

South Bend Schools Superintendent Todd Cummings addressed plans to reopen during a Facebook Live video. He says officials plan to set up virtual class options for students in addition to attending in-person.

“We’ll have a face-to-face, we’ll have a full virtual stand alone, and we’ll have a virtual by school option as well.”

The second and third weeks in August are set to be the first day of school for students, depending on the school district.

Today the St. Joseph County Health Dept. announced letters would be going out to parents of students who attend PHM, South Bend Schools, School City of Mishawaka and John Glenn to provide guidance on what can be expected when class resumes for the 2020-2021 school year. 

 Here is a portion of that guidance as it was outlined in the letter students and parents in Mishawaka are receiving today: 

 To conduct in-person instruction while ensuring the safety of all students and staff, certain health and safety measures must be in place. The four public school districts of St. Joseph County in partnership with the St. Joseph County Department of Health (SJCDH) have developed the following expectations for when students and staff return for in-person instruction this fall:

● Per the order of the SJCDH, staff and students are required to have a mask with them at all times. There will be times that masks or facial coverings will be required indoors and in
enclosed spaces when 6 feet of physical distance cannot be maintained.

● Students and staff will be required to be fever free for 72 hours without use of fever reducing medication before returning to school.

● Students and staff will be required to conduct at-home, self-screening on a daily basis.

● All perfect attendance incentives for both students and staff will be discontinued.

● Lunches will be adjusted to maximize available open space and utilize alternate scheduling to adhere to safety guidelines.

● A separate space in existing school health offices will be identified to treat symptomatic
students.

● Visitors and guests will be restricted in school facilities until further notice.

● Instructional space and scheduling flexibility will be maximized to ensure responsible social distancing as often as possible.

● Enhanced cleaning and hand washing procedures will be required with additional hand
sanitizer stations available for all students and staff.