INDIANAPOLIS (WFFT) — Indiana schools will continue their school year online for the remainder of the academic year as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Indiana Superintendent of Education Jennifer McCormick announced on Thursday that K-12 students will not return to school at all for the 2019-20 school year.
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All academics will continue online such as eLearning.
Governor Eric Holcomb signed executive orders on March 19 that initially extended the closure of schools until May 1, provide economic relief and protections for individuals and businesses, and expand unemployment insurance benefits.
“Students are the future of our state and teachers are the heart of our schools,” Gov. Holcomb said. “While COVID-19 is impacting every classroom, our teachers, administrators, school board members and school staff are going to extraordinary levels to deliver quality learning to students all across our state, even while school buildings are closed. We’ll continue to do everything we can to empower educators and parents, while protecting students’ health.”
In the March 19 executive order all-state mandated assessments for K-12 students were canceled for the current academic year and will remain that way.
If a school completes 20 days of remote learning from April 2, 2020 and falls short of the required 160 instructional days at the end fo the year, McCormick says the Indiana Department of Education can waive the difference.
All K-12 schools are required to submit a plan for review and approval by IDOE by April 17.
McCormick says the plan can include eLearning, extended learning, project-based or portfolio learning, competency-based learning, partnerships with higher education for increased student supports, and other similar methods.
For Steven Horne, he concerned his son's school district, Fort Wayne Community Schools isn't prepared to meet those plans.
He said "My only concern is I don’t know if Fort Wayne Community Schools has any kind of eLearning program really set up for students to really do the program, and if there is, there isn’t really a lot of information to go on."
FWCS is not set up to use eLearning. They've stated in the past that it just doesn't work for their district. FWCS Spokeswoman Krista Stockman explained what their plan is, as of April 2nd, when students return back to school. She did admit that the plans can change as the meet the requirements of the executive order that came down from Governor Holcomb.
“For the students who needed specific credits in order to graduate, they are enrolled in an online program edgenuity. We did provide laptops in those situations to students who needed them," Stockman said. "For other categories of students, starting Monday, we have our teachers who are going to be providing lessons for students online and holding office hours daily."
A school corporation may issue an Indiana diploma to a student who has done all of the following:
• Has met all of the course and credit requirements for the specific diploma designation based on a combination of high school credits earned prior to and the course in which a student was enrolled as of March 19, when the governor issued the statewide school closure.
• Meets any virtual or remote learning participation requirements established by the governing body of the local school corporation in response to the statewide school closure order issued by the governor.
• Meets any additional graduation requirements established by the governing body of the local school corporation prior to the school closure order issued by the governor.
The executive order also extends teacher licenses expiring between March 1, 2020 and Aug. 31, 2020 until Sept. 1, 2020.
The latest executive order can be found below.