The following are responses provided by the ISI Leadership Team to questions submitted by ISI families, faculty, staff, and supporters.
Are students participating in remote learning eligible to participate in ISI athletics? (updated July 20)
Yes. According to the IHSAA if a school is offering virtual, distance learning, e-learning or online courses taught by member school personnel, a student athlete can attend 100% of the day virtually and still participate in education-based athletics. Schools are permitted to set their own requirements above the standard set forth by the IHSAA. At this time ISI is permitting students participating in remote learning to participate in the Fall Athletics season.
child care, extended supervision, enrichment
What happens when a parent is late for pick up? Where does the child go? With whom? (updated July 20)
For the health and safety of our community, late pick up will not be permitted because of the potential to negatively impact the protections provided by our Cohort Model policy to mitigate virus spread. In the case of a real emergency, a child would be required to remain in an individual setting, i.e. their classroom, with their teacher, an administrator, or staff member. If a family anticipates the possibility of frequent late pickups, it is asked to register for child care or extended supervision services.
What will after school childcare look like this year, especially with no outside classes. Will there be any recreational classes offered by ISI teachers? (updated July 27)
We have suspended all enrichment programming for the fall semester to align with our visitor policies, which prohibits outside guests until further notice. Childcare services continue before and after school because it is an essential service to many parents who work. However, childcare has been restructured so that children participating in the program can be assigned to a cohort that is unchanged for the full session.
devices and information technology
Has the technology available at ISI been assessed for the scenario where all classrooms are live-streaming? (updated July 21)
Yes. Infrastructure in all facilities have been enhanced this summer and bandwidth has been increased. Stress testing of the network will be completed before the start of school.
How will teachers interact with students learning at home and those in-person? (updated July 13)
The ISI Information Technology team has invested in 20 new HD webcams capable of panning across a classroom at the teacher’s discretion. These cameras are equipped with noise-canceling HD microphones and speakers for a clear and precise audio experience as well. The cameras will be mobilized in classrooms serving the grades with the highest percentage of registered remote learners with a priority placed on lower school grades where a more immersive video experience can benefit student engagement. In middle and high school, already available technologies are sufficient for live streaming from most classrooms with teachers using the cameras built into their ISI issued Macbooks or iPads to broadcast their lessons in real-time. Also, the school has invested to provide every teacher with his or her own paid Zoom account, which provides added layers of encryption and other security measures to help ensure student’s virtual classroom experiences are safe.
Will the Lower School move forward with its traditional Halloween celebration this year? (updated September 21)
Lower School leadership has announced that it will not host a celebration in order to comply with COVID-Ready Campuses policies, including the Cohort Model Policy and the Meals, Snacks, Water Fountains, and Food Services Policy, which prohibits the sharing of food and snacks between students.
Will there be used uniform sales as in past years? (updated July 13)
While specific dates and details are not available at the time of this response, the ISI Parent Association is working to identify viable plans to hold used uniform sales as the school year approaches, including options for an open-air market hosted outside and in alignment with ISI policies. Details for any scheduled sales would be shared in upcoming back-to-school messages and posted to the ISI Community Calendar.
Are we still planning on having a bell ringing ceremony? (updated July 27)
The leadership team has developed a modified version of the bell ringing ceremony that allows students to ring the bell, but prevents a large community gathering. You can read more about the new plans on our Back to School page.
Because parents will not be able to enter the school buildings, with some special exceptions for new pre-elementary students as needed for a smooth transition, is there any way parents can see how classrooms and common areas will be setup to align with COVID-19 policies. (updated August 5)
We will use social media to share images of how classrooms and common areas are being staged and used as students return to class. More immediately, click to view these short videos for an initial glimpse of classrooms and common areas in both the Lower and Upper School buildings.
What steps has ISI taken to ensure the ventilation is sufficient in ISI facilities? (updated July 20)
The first week of August, crews will update the Blackwell and Taurel building systems with MERV 13 filters. Additionally, all windows in the Blackwell and Taurel buildings have been tested over the summer and are operational. Further, Butler University, the property manager for the 49th Street Building will be installing MERV filters. Cleaning crews will also be deploying a fogger system to disinfect the air in all campus facilities on a regular schedule that is yet to be determined.
What modifications have been made to the 49th Street Building to prepare for reopening school? (updated July 27)
Our 49th Street Building is owned by Butler, and we have worked with them so that they ensure the highest standard of quality is being put into our school. MERV air filters have been installed. A new cleaning company that works in hospitals is now cleaning our schools. We have done fogging, sanitizing, moving classrooms around to allow 6 feet of space between students. We have hired an additional service to clean heavily used surfaces all day long. We have cleaned and changed air filters, ducts, assured windows can open for air circulation. These are a few of the things that we have done to make sure the buildings are safe.
How does the school plan to monitor and/or mitigate the off-campus behaviors of families that some might consider risky or threatening to the general health and wellness of the school community? (updated August 4)
Unless an executive order is issued for Marion County or the State of Indiana regarding specific behaviors or activities, ISI cannot issue policy or otherwise reasonably attempt to directly influence families regarding their personal choices to engage in particular behaviors or activities outside of our school community. As an example, our COVID-Ready Classrooms Policy Hub features Travel Guidance as opposed to a definitive policy prescription that would be enforced. In the same way, we are only able to offer all ISI families guidance that they emphasize making at-home choices that reflect concern and caring for the wellbeing of our school community. Through collaboration and partnership, mutual understanding and sacrifice, we can protect the health and wellness of our students, faculty, and staff as we return for in-person learning. It is our sincere hope then that ISI families emulate behaviors that slow the spread of COVID-19, such as wearing masks in public spaces and practicing regular handwashing, not only when on our campuses or within our school community but in all circumstances.
Will there be tuition reimbursement for programs or services that aren't utilized based on the type of learning option my family selects? (updated July 29)
ISI's tuition is a flat rate, not itemized based on the programs or services a student utilizes. This all-inclusive approach to tuition means parents have peace of mind, knowing the full cost of the year upfront. One of our commitments for the Return Itinerary, is that we will follow a transparent and consistent fiscal policy, including a pledge that published tuition rates for the 2020-2021 academic year will remain unchanged regardless of how learning is delivered. We've been transparent that the expenses to implement the necessary health and safety protocols for in-person learning during the course of the year far exceed our initial budget. Similarly, the expenses to make remote learning a viable option for our families also were outside our budget. While families choosing in-person learning receive meals, families selecting remote learning have had significant investments made in tools that make the option available to them. Every tuition dollar has been reallocated to make this unique year of education possible.
Who is helping make decisions related to public health, epidemiological data and policies to help inform policies? (updated July 30)
There are individuals, organizations, medical experts and public health and government officials working collaboratively to inform ISI policies and procedures. Examples include but are not limited to the CDC, American Academy of Pediatrics, Indiana Department of Education, Marion County Health Department, research from global public health and education experts. Though many individuals within the ISI community, including medical, legal, education and human resources professionals have contributed expertise and data that helps to inform policy, it is the senior leadership team that serves as the decision-making body for the institution, with oversight from the Board of Directors.
Are children of health care professionals permitted to send children to school for in-person learning? (updated July 20)
Yes. We recognize that healthcare professionals or those working in health care settings have the potential to work with COVID-19 positive patients. Our Health Screening policy has been amended to confirm a health care professionals use of appropriate PPE and other necessary measures in their workplace to protect against the transmission of COVID-19. With these conditions met, health care professional will be allowed to send their children to school for in-person learning.
ATTENDANCE, E-LEARNING, AND REMOTE LEARNING
Will students awaiting test results or who have tested positive still have the option for remote learning? (updated July 20)
Yes. Details are provided in our Attendance, E-learning, and Remote Learning policy.
Will there be any voluntary reporting or collection of data when students and their families travel outside of the state or to "hotspot" areas during weekends or school breaks? Will there be any mandatory or recommended remote learning policy before returning to school if that is the case? (updated July 27)
We have an international, global community. We represent 54 nationalities, one of our greatest strengths. Right now, the United States is considered one of the hot spots in the world. While we debated whether we should require families to self-isolate before school, we recognized that being in another country could actually be considered safer than being in the U.S. Due to COVID-19 transmission in the U.S., we are not requiring a specific amount of remote learning if people travel. Wherever they travel, most countries are considered to be less complicated with COVID-19 than the U.S. If that changes, we will consider changing our stance. Regarding travel within the United States, recently Marion County issued a recommendation to self-isolate after travel to specific states with high transmission rates. As this is not an obligatory mandate, families are recommended to follow these guidelines, although they are not required.
Is there any screening process for kids? (updated July 27)
This is outlined on the Health Screening policy. Before entering, all faculty, staff, and students must pass a temperature screening and health questionnaire.
STUDENT, FACULTY, OR STAFF ILLNESS
Will COVID-19 tests be available at the school nurse? (update July 20)
No. The school is not a testing site. You can access a link to a listing of Indiana coronavirus testing sites on our Student, Faculty, or Staff Illness policy page.
STUDENT, FACULTY, AND STAFF ILLNESS
What is the school protocol in the case of a positive COVID-19 test? (updated July 27)
If you go to our COVID-Ready Campuses webpage, there is an entire policy on what will happen if a student has a fever or other symptoms. The benefit of remote learning and live streaming classes at all times is that students who remain home will not have to miss class. Additionally, we will not reward perfect attendance because we want to make sure that families stay home when they are sick.
STUDENT, FACULTY, AND STAFF ILLNESS
We are concerned that COVID-19 test results for minors may be delayed and impact a students ability to return to the classroom. (updated July 27)
We are aware of the challenges of receiving timely test results, however at this time it is the recommendation of public health officials that students have two negative tests or a 14-day quarantine before returning to school. We will work with our families to ensure that students have continuity of curriculum when they are required to stay at home, and we will continue to advocate with public health officials so that all students and their families have improved access to testing.
How will the parents be notified when a student or teacher has symptoms of COVID so we can isolate at home? (updated July 27)
ISI will release a Decision Matrix to families prior to students’ return to campus and detailed information about the notification system that will be utilized for the 2020-2021 academic year.
STUDENT, FACULTY, AND STAFF ILLNESS
If a student exhibits any one symptom of COVID-19, let's say headache. How long must the child quarantine? Will a negative test or doctor's note allow them to return to school in person? Is there a parent guideline for symptoms and what to do? (updated July 27)
It is not our intent to be alarmists, and we recognize that many COVID-19 symptoms are symptoms of other illnesses. Any student or employee who fails the health screening will work with Nurse Carol, a certified contact tracer, to determine the appropriate next step if the symptoms are suspected to be related to COVID-19.
DROP-OFF AND PICK-UP
What if a parent/family needs a different drop-off/pick-up time? (updated July 13)
In order to help sustain our Cohort Model, which mitigates virus spread and facilitates contact tracing in the event of a confirmed case of coronavirus on our campuses, we are unable to change assigned drop-off and pick-up times. This policy is not meant to be a permanent change, but a temporary solution to protect student health during the pandemic, and we appreciate our community’s flexibility and understanding. Child care services are being offered to provide and should be utilized by families that require greater flexibility in their drop-off and pick-up times.
DROP-OFF AND PICK-UP
Can you please describe how the in-person drop off/pick up policy applies to younger siblings? Specifically, may I enter the building with my 18 month old daughter to drop off my pre-K son? (updated July 27)
No one that does not learn or work in the buildings may enter the buildings. If a child does not attend ISI, they cannot enter. Siblings cannot enter one another’s buildings. We need to avoid all mixing the cohorts so that we can effectively contract trace.
DROP-OFF AND PICK-UP
Do parents dropping off students wait for screening to take place before leaving? (updated July 27)
Yes. The screening will take about 1 minute. Then, the child will exit the car and enter the building.
Given the mandated mask order in Marion County, will the school consider mandating every student across all age groups wear masks in the classroom? (updated July 27)
ISI has and continues to carefully analyze the appropriate mandates regarding masks. Current guidelines require students Grade 3 and above to wear a mask at all times. ISI has required students Grade 2 and below to wear masks in all shared spaces, but has not mandated masks in the classroom with their primary teacher and cohort. This is based on recent research that finds transmission to be low among children under 8, and because compliance can be a challenge with our youngest students. With our youngest students social distancing, washing hands frequently, and disinfecting regularly are among the precautions being taken to minimize risk. Families may instruct their children to wear a mask at all times.
Can we ask that our child wear a mask at all times (except eating/drinking) even if it is not mandatory for all students? (updated July 27)
This is outlined in the Mask Policy. Yes, if that is the family’s preference. However, we cannot promise that teachers can ensure this at all times.
As far as recess is concerned, how will that be executed in regard to social distancing. I know children will have a very difficult time with this? (updated July 27)
We will implement staggered recess times so cohorts do not mix. The school nurse, Carol Mark, is a certified contact tracer for our institution. The best way for her to successfully contact trace is for students to remain in their designated cohort. We are prioritizing maintaining cohorts for that reason, which also apply to recess times.
If there is a need to close down for a longer period of time, what is our requirement for tuition? (updated July 27)
Pre-elementary will remain open unless an executive order requires otherwise. For other grades, we are hoping there will not be extended closures and that any closures would be short-term. We are learning to live in the new normal. Safe and healthy practices will allow us to avoid extended closures. If the executive order were made causing us to close, we would continue to offer e-learning offering our full core curriculum during an entire school year. Therefore, no tuition refunds would be given.
IN-PERSON LEARNING FORMS
Is the Liability Waiver something unique to ISI or are other schools implementing the same waiver policy? (updated July 27)
You will see that many times when signing children up for sports, camps, etc., you sign a release form. It is typical practice when any form of risk is involved. Schools around the world are implementing this to return to school.
Will the new orders for school operations issued by the Marion County Health Department today impact which learning scenario will be used to start the school year? (updated July 30)
This question is in reference to the health department’s order #23-2020, which establishes new limits on schools’ abilities to operate a traditional, or in-person, learning scenario. In reviewing the order and consulting our enrollment numbers, facilities’ footprints, and other relevant factors, we will continue to operate all grade levels in both the Lower School and Upper School under Scenario One: Traditional Learning for the start of school on August 11 as previously planned as a part of our Return Itinerary for the Academic Year 2020-2021. Only students who registered for remote learning to start the year will not need to report to our campuses for classes.
Why is a liability waiver required for in-person learning registration? (updated July 29)
ISI strives to follow constantly changing standards and best practices announced by federal, state and local authorities and apply these standards in a way that least disrupts the educational environment, all the while maintaining ISI’s high educational standards. Although it wishes it could, ISI cannot eliminate all risk even with the strictest of compliance with all best practices. The release recognizes the uncertain nature of this pandemic, including public health professionals’ understanding of this disease. The release does not, of course, deter ISI from its commitment to student safety demonstrated in our reopening plan.
Will the students sing, in-person, during music class? I have read that singing may require additional distancing to prevent spread. (updated July 27)
At the Lower School, class will happen inside each individual classroom. The music teacher, along with students, will wear masks the entire time. Music class will happen with social distancing in place. For Upper School, Music will also continue to be held. The teacher will go to classes and students will have music in their pods. Masks will be worn all the time during these classes. No instruments will be played.
How will cohorts mitigate the risk for grades 4 and 5 if they are required to interact with other language track students? (updated July 27)
Previously, we have mixed students for English classes between language track, but we will not mix cohorts in these grade levels. Think of the grade 4 and 5 students as having a cohort within their English classes. Spanish will be a cohort of just Spanish. Their English teachers will travel to them. French and Mandarin will be opposite as they will be combined in their English track. For French and Mandarin, their language track teachers will travel to them. The cohorts will not mix and mingle across language tracks. Their cohort will never exceed 18 at one time, and it will always be the same students.
On your website what is pre-elementary defined as? Is the model of 1 primary and 1 support teacher still kept? (updated July 27)
3-year-old program to Kindergarten. For pre-elementary, they will continue to have 1 primary and 1 support teacher. For grades 1-5, we have not had assistants in those classrooms in the past and will not this school year.
Will there be increased opportunity for outdoor learning? (updated July 27)
Yes. Weather permitting, we want students outside as much as possible. We will have designated spaces for this to avoid mixing cohorts.
Will we use larger spaces like the gym to further spread students out if necessary? (updated July 27)
Large events and activities have been suspended. Use of large indoor community spaces is limited and will be used in accordance with social distancing practices.
What will be the instructions in regards to sharing school supplies? (updated July 30)
It is our intent to limit sharing of school supplies when possible. Supplies kept in the classroom will be labeled for designated students, and shared supplies will be disinfected when applicable. Parents can assist faculty by labeling backpacks, and other personal items that students will bring to and from school daily.
Best way to talk to teachers about students’ school days? (updated July 27)
We will have to take a different approach, but teachers, principals, and the leadership team are all still as accessible as always. All meetings will take place via Zoom. This is how we will interact and have contact.
What will PE look like inside small classrooms? (updated July 27)
PE will primarily take place outside when weather permits. If they can distance significantly, there will be times when they can take off masks while running or doing aerobic activity. Mostly, it will be stationary exercises. If weather does not permit, PE will happen inside classrooms. Additionally, rooms have all been evaluated for square footage. The biggest classes will be taught in the largest classrooms.
REMOTE learning and e-learning
The decision to return to school or to opt for remote learning seems to be all or none with a deadline of July 28. What if a parent chooses one option and then decides it is not working out and would like to try the other option? Or what about a modified option of some days in school and some days at home, or is that logistically too difficult? (updated July 20)
A number of models, or options, were considered during the creation of the Return Itinerary plan for returning to school under Scenario One: Traditional Learning. In considering these options, our intent was to select the approach that provided as much flexibility as possible while maintaining the health and safety of our community. Central to health and safety is our Cohort Model policy, which protects our ability to contact trace any COVID-19 carrier with accuracy and efficiency and mitigate the spread of the virus through out community. So while extending the option to learn in-person or remotely does provide flexibility to families, we must limit the opportunities, or times, that a student can switch between these options to a quarterly basis to help ensure the viability of our Cohort Model. Further, limiting opportunities to switch learning options is an important courtesy to our faculty and staff team for planning purposes, e.g. decisions on curriculum delivery, preparing in-school meals, etc.
When reviewing the learning delivery page of the plan, do the percentages in the column Remote Learning indicate how long my student will have to be in front of a screen during school day hours? (updated July 13)
The percentages are intended to reflect the amount of each day’s in-person learning will also be available for viewing remotely via live stream. They are not meant to reflect the percentage of the remote learning day that students would necessarily have to be in front of their screens. But it is important to know that more definitive plans for how remote learning will be delivered are forthcoming, after the July 28 deadline for families to complete the Remote Learning Request Form and opt-out of in-person learning, which will provide us a better understanding of how to structure classes so students in the classroom and at home have opportunities to successfully learn.
If a teacher becomes ill, will this cohort then need to go to e-learning? Who would teach the class? (updated July 27)
The Indiana State Department of Health has identified thresholds for closing a classroom. If a classroom meets that threshold it will move to e-learning. However, if the classroom doesn’t meet the threshold and a teacher is unable to teach, a qualified substitute will lead the class. Lower School students Grade 2 or younger with a substitute teacher in the classroom, would be required to wear masks at all times.
I accidentally signed up for e-learning, how do I change that? (updated July 27)
Email firstname.lastname@example.org and indicate that the previous submission was an accident.
What will be the criteria utilized by ISI Leadership to decide if we will all go to full e-learning? (updated July 27)
For pre-elementary through kindergarten, it is our plan to remain open full-time as an essential service. For Grades 1-12, there are two factors that would impact our decision to move to e-learning. First, if the public health situation in central Indiana warrants a change, as reflected by a public health or executive orders. Second, if illness or positive cases in our school community warrant a change. Like all leaders we are working closely with public health officials and monitoring the number of hospitalizations, respirator use, transmission rates, positivity rates, and the number of current cases in Marion County and the state.
My children will be in the 3 year old program and kindergarten. I am not comfortable sending them to school this fall. How engaging will remote learning be for them considering how young they are and how limited their attention spans? (updated July 27)
To date fewer than 5% of ISI families have chosen the remote learning option. On average that is roughly 1 to 2 students per grade level. The number of students who elect for remote learning will shape how teachers interact with the students at home vs. students in the class. In Lower School, new technology has been added to the classroom that allows a camera to follow a teacher as they move through the classroom. This technology amplifies the teacher's voice, which is incredibly important when learning a new language. Teachers have the ability to livestream the entire school day, so families will be able to work with their teacher to determine what schedule is best for students to engage with the class in a meaningful way.
When will e-learning families receive more information about what that will look like? (updated July 27)
First, we want to clarify that there is a difference between e-learning and remote learning. The school closure earlier this year caused us to transition to e-learning, which is when the teacher is at home teaching directly to the students in their homes. Remote learning is when the teacher is in their classroom with the majority of students in the classroom. As the school year begins, more information will be forthcoming for those families who have chosen the remote learning option.
Once the sessions start, if parents feel they would like to move to distance learning, due to increase in case numbers, will we have that option? (updated July 27)
Parents may change their decision on a session by session basis. This gives parents up to four opportunities to evaluate their selection during the school year. The first session is from August 11-October 9. Parents must select their preference for the first session by July 28. Preferences for Session 2 will be collected in September. However, if a family has a specific concern and wishes to modify their choice and to exit in-person learning during a session, they should contact their principal.
Why not give families more flexibility to change learning models than once every few months? (updated July 30)
Allowing families to make frequent modifications to their selected learning model impacts our ability to implement the cohort model efficiently and effectively. Our faculty and staff can better prepare to meet the needs of students at home and in the classroom, and contract tracing is most effective with an approach that limits unnecessary changes to the cohort and the method of curriculum delivery.
How has COVID impacted enrollment? (updated July 30)
Worldwide schools similar to ISI have seen declines in enrollment ranging from 10 to 15 percent. Limits to global mobility, public health concerns, and economic hardships are contributing factors to lower enrollment for the 2020-2021 academic year.