In a push to provide child care for essential workers, including health care workers and emergency responders, the state Department of Education is encouraging districts to provide child care in shuttered school buildings. And more than $1 million will be allocated from a COVID-19 response fund to Indianapolis organizations that provide services for those children, administrators announced Tuesday.
In a memo to schools, state Superintendent Jennifer McCormick encouraged districts statewide to provide care for district-enrolled students of essential workers who are 12 or younger, at a minimum. Each district can use at least one closed building, she said. Some other states have mandated that schools provide child care, the memo notes. Indiana hasn’t taken that step yet.
The department also recommended that all child care facilities begin checking children’s temperatures when they arrive, before their parents leave. If the child has a temperature higher than 100.4 degrees they should be sent home, the memo says.
In Indianapolis, care for about a hundred children ages 5-12 will be provided by the YMCA of Greater Indianapolis and AYS, which regularly offers before and after school care and programs during school breaks. Early Learning Indiana, which runs several daycare and preschool sites, has hundreds of available seats for children younger than 5.
“As the burdens on our health care workers and first responders increase, they need more and more support for their families,” said Ann Murtlow, president and CEO of the United Way of Central Indiana, which is managing the COVID-19 response fund. “As child care centers and schools have closed, it’s getting harder and harder for them to have that support.”
The number of COVID-19 cases in Indiana rose to 477 on Wednesday morning — 115 more than the day before, according to the State Department of Health. Fourteen people have died.
At least five additional people connected with Indiana schools, including two individuals with ties to Indianapolis campuses, have tested positive for the new coronavirus according to reports over the past week.
- The Indianapolis Star reported on Friday that someone connected with Shortridge High School and the Center for Inquiry at School 2 in Indianapolis Public Schools has tested positive for COVID-19.
- Earlier last week, a Greenfield teacher who also coaches sports at Herron High tested positive, the Indianapolis Star reported.
- The parent of an elementary school student in the Lake Central district in northwest Indiana also tested positive, the Northwest Indiana Times reported.
- A staff member from an elementary school in Decatur County tested positive, FOX59 reported.
- A bus aide in the Hammond district tested positive for COVID-19, according to a district letter to families.
In all four cases, parents and staff in the school communities were notified of the potential exposure.
The suburban Indianapolis district of Avon became the first school system in the state to close on March 9, after one student tested positive for the new coronavirus and a second student started showing symptoms.
The number of COVID-19 cases in Indiana rose to 259 Monday morning — more than 50 more cases than the day before, according to the state Department of Health. Seven Hoosiers have died.
Marion County has seen the fastest spread in the state, Gov. Eric Holcomb said during an address Monday to announce a stay-at-home order. On Friday the county had 47 cases — and by Monday, there were 110 Marion County cases reported by the state.
Families will still be able to pick up food from their school districts and take their children to day cares when a statewide stay-at-home order goes into effect on Wednesday.
Gov. Eric Holcomb announced the new restrictions on Monday, ordering Hoosiers to stay in their homes through April 7. People will only be allowed to leave for work or permitted activities, including grocery shopping, taking care of others, and seeking medical help.
“The next two weeks are critical if we are to slow the spread of COVID-19, and we must slow the spread. You must be part of the solution, not the problem,” Holcomb said in a televised address.