How Hybrid Learning has affected school life in Marion County

On October 17th, IPS students were allowed to return to in-person learning for the first time in over seven months.

At the time of planning for hybrid learning, Indianapolis’s positivity rate was at an estimated 5%, which meant it was safe for students to come back to school. But as the time came for students to come back, the rate had risen to 7%. For IPS schools, they were already following a hybrid schedule, so this didn’t change their plan. 

Chart taken from the Marion County Health Department website. 

As Shortridge is an IPS school, students who came back had to follow a hybrid schedule; students will spend half of their school week offline and half online, depending on their last name. However, there are several more restrictions that were put in place as safety measures. All people inside the building have to wear a mask, and can only take them off to eat. 

Students are prohibited from eating or drinking during class, and no passes can be given during class time. A seating chart has been made for every class, and students must sit in the same seat every class. During lunch, Students must sit with their ATLs, all while being socially distanced. 

Since the hybrid schedule has started for IPS, the numbers for covid in Marion County have gone up. In the time since October 17th, the positivity rate has gone from 7.0%to 7.7%. Average cases have gone up from 176 a day to 146 a day, as of October 29th. While this does not change the current schedule for any of the levels of school, it does raise concern about where the upward trend may lead.

Since hybrid learning began, there have been three confirmed cases of Covid-19 in Shortridge. The identities of these individuals will remain anonymous, and will be quarantined. This, and the rise of covid cases in Indiana, is causing some students to worry if IPS is prepared to continue hybrid learning. 

“I think we just aren’t ready for us to return in-person, that’s why I chose to stay all virtual this semester.” says Adreece Birdsong, a student at Shortridge. Students who did not feel comfortable returning in-person had the option earlier in the year to do 100% remote learning. 

“I’ll be very sad if we do go back to all virtual learning, I feel more engaged in in-person learning.” says another Shortridge student, Wandra Martinez. 

In an IPS weekly video update, IPS Superintendent Aleesia Johnson states that IPS would like to retain hybrid learning as long as possible, although “The decisions we make outside the school building, that will impact what we are able to do inside our school buildings.” 

Covid-19 effects on Shortridge Sports

“The IHSAA believes it is essential to the physical and mental well-being of student-athletes to return to organized physical activity,” which was released in the IHSAA Covid-19 Resource Center. This marked sports starting back up again.

There are still worries with covid numbers rising if the season might end. Seasons such as swimming and basketball are coming up in Shortridge high school and so are the worries of covid affecting the season. 

“How will we be safe while playing,” Elias Diallo, a student on the basketball team said, voicing his concern.

Ihsaa has been implementing rules and regulations to help keep athletes safe and make sure no one has symptoms. They have a detailed list of fall and winter sports and how they should be handled during the pandemic on the IHSAA Covid-19 Resource Center. Some of the basic rules are to wear masks before and after practice, or games. Masks may be taken off during play only by players and match officials. Coaches and other observers must keep their mask on. Social distancing of 6 feet must be practiced. 

Shortridge also has an app where athletes answer a series of questions to see if they’re eligible to come to practice. Along with this app Shortridge also started online tickets for the family of athletes to help make it safer. Attendees also have to fill out a contact tracing form in case an outbreak did occur. More information can be found on the Shortridge website.

Many professional sports teams are also practicing these rules such as our football team The Indianapolis Colts. They released all their procedures on the website  Colts.com/gameday.