reopening schools


Many of Indiana's school leaders are grappling with tension in their communities as they consider how and when to bring more kids back into schools, but teachers say they're feeling more pressure than ever to manage classes in-person and online, as well as their own safety.

Screenshot from Facebook Live

During a biweekly news conference City of South Bend and St. Joseph County officials expressed optimism about COVID-19 statistics currently trending downward. 

"We acknowledge the impact of the cases at Notre Dame. Much of that has washed out," Dr. Mark Fox with the St. Joseph Co. Health Department said. 

(Jeanie Lindsay/IPB News)

Many schools in Indiana are working to provide some sort of in-person instruction to students as they reopen during the COVID-19 pandemic, but some school leaders say a shortage of teachers could force them to once again move students online.

Indiana's New Color-Coded Map For School Guidance

Sep 3, 2020

Indiana has released it's new system with color coding to provide schools with guidance on how to proceed. In the WVPE listening area, a number of counties are in blue which is the best ranking. No counties are in red which is the worst ranking. St. Joseph County is the only county in our region in orange which is the second worst ranking. St. Joseph County's COVID-19 stats have been heavily influenced by the COVID-19 cases that have occurred at Notre Dame.   


The Indiana State Board of Education unanimously approved a proposal to maintain full funding levels for schools operating online this fall. School leaders and educators say it offers much-needed stability.

Provided by the State of Indiana

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — A new county-by-county rating of coronavirus risk that Indiana health officials say is aimed at helping school districts decide whether to keep students in classrooms is being met with reticence from some school leaders. The color-coded system that is slated for public release Wednesday assigns scores to counties based on the number of new COVID-19 infections and local positivity rates. The new system comes a month after schools across the state began resuming in-person classes.

(Lauren Chapman/IPB News)

Indiana will soon send a total of $61 million to Hoosier schools to help them with their technology needs during the COVID-19 pandemic.


Gov. Eric Holcomb is pitching an idea to calm concerns about school funding, but school leaders are doubtful it will truly clear up the problem and say it could make things like navigating teacher pay even more challenging. 

(Justin Hicks/IPB News)

The Indiana State Department of Health reported 89 additional confirmed deaths over the last week, bringing the state’s total to 2,924. The state announced more than 80,000 total confirmed cases – including three days with more than 1,000 reported cases – and more than 906,000 Hoosiers tested.

Holcomb Aims To Provide Some School Funding Certainty

Aug 12, 2020

Gov. Eric Holcomb and Republican legislative leaders want to provide schools with more certainty about funding for at least the first half of the new school year.

(Jeanie Lindsay/IPB News)

Indiana's moratorium on evictions is set to expire this week and additional pandemic unemployment benefits have already ended, and schools are on edge for what it could mean for students with unstable housing. 

(Youtube screenshot)

Indiana schools are reopening for the new academic year, with some reporting cases of COVID-19 among staff or students, and the state's top school official says efforts to find people who have potentially been exposed to the coronavirus is proving difficult.

Benton Harbor Area Schools Release Plan For Reopening

Aug 6, 2020

Benton Harbor Area Schools released its back-to school plan this week which includes options for both in-person and virtual learning. 

State Launches COVID-19 Help Hotline For Schools

Aug 5, 2020
(Lauren Chapman/IPB News)

The State Department of Health announced Wednesday it launched a hotline for school administrators to call with questions about COVID-19.

Teachers Union Backs Strike If Schools Can't Reopen Safely

Aug 4, 2020
(Lauren Chapman/IPB News)

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Indiana's American Federation of Teachers says it supports the national union's resolution that calls on members to go on strike to ensure schools reopen safely. During a press conference Tuesday, the union, which represents around 4,500 educators and education staff statewide, called for schools to only reopen for in-person instruction if coronavirus cases are kept under control, if teachers and staff are provided with adequate personal protective equipment, and funding for necessary resources such as masks and cleaning products is provided.


Two more school corporations in Michiana approved back-to-school plans Monday night. Both South Bend and Penn-Harris-Madison schools will start the year virtually due to the COVID-19 pandemic.


ELWOOD, Ind. (AP) — A central Indiana school is shutting down two days after opening after at least one staffer tested positive for COVID-19. Other districts in the state also are reporting positive coronavirus tests among students and employees. The Indianapolis Star reports that Elwood Junior Senior High School temporarily is closing this week. Several other people are in quarantine. The district says no students were believed to have been in close contact with the staff members.

The Elkhart County Health Officer has just issued new guidance on reopening schools. She is recommending that schools can offer an option to reopen for in-person instruction. In addition, Dr. Lydia Mertz will also announce today that Elkhart County will move to Stage 4.5 with the rest of the state in reopening the economy. Elkhart County had been "paused" at Stage 4 behind the rest of the state due to earlier surging COVID-19 case numbers.

(Lauren Chapman/IPB News)

Members of the Indiana 2020 Two-Way asked us how schools – whether in-person, virtual, or a combination of the two – are addressing lingering equity issues related to race, health, technology, and special education.

(Justin Hicks/IPB News)

A few Indiana school districts returned to in-person learning Wednesday for the first time since the start of the pandemic and some teachers say, despite precautions, it may not be enough to keep them and their students safe from COVID-19.

The St. Joseph County Health Department released new guidelines today for evaluating when and how to reopen schools. 

(Lauren Chapman/IPB News)

The Indiana State Department of Health reported 77 additional confirmed deaths over the last week, bringing the state’s total to 2,706. The state announced more than 62,000 total confirmed cases, with more than 701,000 Hoosiers tested.

(Justin Hicks/IPB News)

An increase in COVID-19 cases in Indiana – and across the U.S. – is prompting concerns about how safe schools will be as they reopen for the new academic year. And some schools are facing backed-up supply chains for critical items, like personal protective equipment (PPE) and technology for students.

(AP Photo/Darron Cummings)

Vice President Mike Pence applauded Gov. Eric Holcomb’s efforts Friday to reopen schools this fall, from K-12 to higher education institutions. 

(Justin Hicks/IPB News)

Indiana's Democratic challenger in the race for governor says the state needs to offer clearer health guidelines for schools to follow as they plan to reopen. 

Some Parents Voice Concern With South Bend Back To School Plans

Jul 16, 2020
Justin Hicks / WVPE Public Radio

Schools across the country are preparing for what the 2020 school year will look like amid the pandemic. South Bend Community Schools released its plan this week for reopening in the fall but some parents have concerns.

Michigan Governor Announces Plan To Reopen K-12 Schools

Jul 1, 2020
Photo provided by the State of Michigan

LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Michigan’s governor has unveiled her plans to return students to the classroom this fall for the first time since schools were closed in March in favor of remote learning to slow the spread of the coronavirus. Gov. Gretchen Whitmer told reporters Tuesday that the Safe Start plan requires districts to make safety plans in preparation for the upcoming school year and includes $256 million from the state to support those efforts. The plan lays out requirements and makes recommendations for districts to follow. Different stages are tied to Whitmer’s six-phase regional approach to economically reopening the state.

(Lauren Chapman/IPB News)

School leaders and educators are still figuring out what the state's latest guidance on how to reopen buildings means for them. Many worry about how to pay for some of the changes, and whether or not all of them will be needed – or possible – in different parts of the state.