It’s already the last day of June.
In just more than a month, on Monday, Aug. 3, students at Noblesville Schools will go back to class for a new school year.
We’re not really sure how different that school will look this year. But we have a better idea, with Monday’s email to families from the district, which will provide both online and in-school face-to-face learning Monday through Friday.
The COVID-19 (Coronavirus Disease) pandemic has forced the district to reevaluate practices, procedures, funding and staffing to ensure students learn in a safe environment.
The district will ask students to wear face coverings, particularly on the school bus, in the school hallways, entering and exiting the building, and picking up food in the cafeteria line, and for some classroom activities. Two face coverings per student will be on the required back-to-school supplies list. The district will provide a mask-carrying clip. The state will provide masks to be available as needed.
There will be social distancing, in the classroom where seating will face the same direction; at lunchtime, when tables will be spaced out farther than the norm; and on the school bus, where seating will be assigned one student per seat, although siblings may sit together. And for that reason, the district has asked parents to respond to questions online by July 6, asking if their child will be riding the bus or need transportation to the Boys & Girls Club of Noblesville. “Parents must reserve a spot for their child to ride the bus,” according to the mass email to families. Walking zones may be reinstated or bus service discontinued for students who live near the school. If there are more students being dropped off at school, there may be staggered drop-off times.
The drinking fountains will be closed. Students will need to bring their own water bottles; filling stations will be available.
There will also be separate spaces in school nurses’ offices for those with COVID-19 (Coronavirus Disease) symptoms. And students and teachers and staff will be asked to stay home when they’re sick. And visitors will be restricted.z
On playgrounds, there will be zones with rotation of classroom groups.
Online learning will be available for students with at-risk health issues or students who have family members with health issues. Students must commit to either online or in-person for each nine-week period or a full semester for the high school.
Parents will be required to sign a commitment agreement to ensure their student is symptom free to attend school, including being fever free, without fever-reducing medication, for 72 hours.
Next week, students will be required to wear face coverings to return to school for locker cleanout, to turn in school-owned band instruments, choir costumes, and library books. The annual Back to School bash is canceled, and the district is still evaluating other back-t0-school events, such as freshman orientation, open houses and ice cream socials.
Outside of school, we are also hearing a little more about what the Hamilton County 4-H Fair will look like. So far, we know that this year’s 4-H Fair, which is on schedule for July 16-20, will only be open to 4-H’ers, their families, staff and volunteers. The 2020 Royal and Supreme Showmanship contests have been postponed until the start of the 2021 4-H Fair. The livestock auction will be virtual. Non-animal project judging will be closed judging. There will be no in-person Dog Project competitions, due to the lack of supervised dog trainings required by Purdue. Livestock shows will be “show and go” with no animals staying overnight. And 10-year 4-H’er recognition will include a vehicle parade on opening day of the Fair, on Thursday, July 16.
The 4-H Fair will go on as long as Indiana reaches Stage 5 of the Governor’s Back on Track Indiana by this Saturday.
The Stage 5 begins July 4 and beyond and is just in time for our Noblesville Fourth of July Parade and Festival and Cicero’s Lights Over Morse Lake this weekend.
Stage 5 still recommends face coverings. Retail stores and malls, restaurants, bars and nightclubs (bar seating will open) and personal services may open at full capacity. Restrictions will be lifted at gyms and fitness facilities. Conventions, sporting events, fairs, festivals and other events may resume. Restrictions will be lifted at amusement parks, water parks and other facilities. Social distancing should be maintained. Pari-mutuel horse racing and county and state fair racing is expected to begin with spectators. And raceway events will return to full capacity. State, county and local governments will continue to screen employees daily. Assisted living and nursing home visits will be evaluated. Campgrounds will remove restrictions.
This year’s traditional Indiana State Fair will not take place, however, a modified 4-H livestock show will take place and 4-H members will be honored with a version of the State Fair that will allow 4-H youth to be recognized for their achievements. Plus, there will be a modified State Fair 4-H livestock competition; entries opened on Friday.
At Conner Prairie in Fishers, the museum grounds have reopened with special hours and tickets must be purchased in advance for morning or afternoon sessions. All youth volunteers and staff, who are returning to posts are required to attend health screenings plus keep daily health records.
While more and more places are open for business, we still need to be very careful and continue social distancing, according to the Indiana State Department of Health, which recommends continuing to wear face coverings in public and wash your hands often.
According to the ISDH, at press time, there have been 44,930 total COVID-19 positive cases in Indiana, 2,427 total deaths, 470,535 tested with 9.5 percent positive. While the highest percentage of positive cases have been for ages 20-59, the highest percentage of deaths were ages 80 and older with 5,147. In Hamilton County, there have been 1,432 positive cases, 97 deaths and 25,081 tested.

-Contact Betsy Reason at betsy@thetimes24-7.com.