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Governor Holcomb closing schools till May 1st

Governor Eric Holcomb ordered that all public schools will remain closed through May 1st. That date puts some students at more of a disadvantage if their district doesn't have access to e-learning, a problem that the state says they're working to address as e-learning becomes the new normal.

Posted: Mar 19, 2020 6:45 PM

INDIANPOLIS, Ind. (WLFI)- Things are rapidly changing at the state level. Thursday, Governor Eric Holcomb ordered that all public schools will remain closed through May 1st. He also advised private schools follow this order as well. 

That date puts some students at more of a disadvantage if their district doesn't have access to e-learning, a problem that the state says they're working to address as e-learning becomes the new normal.

"As we get nearer to May 1st, we may have to close permanently but we will make that call down the road," said Indiana Governor Eric Holcomb.

However, not all school districts have access to the proper technology or internet service to participate in e-learning.

"Presently in Indiana we have fifty percent of our districts who are one to one,” said Indiana state superintendent Dr. Jennifer McCormick. “What that mean is one child to one device. That does not mean that 50 percent of our districts have access at home or they have devices they can take home with them."

Earlier this month Governor Holcomb provided a 20 day waiver of the required 180 instructional days for use as needed for the rest of the academic year. That measure does provide some relief to schools who don't have access to e-learning, however if school is canceled for the rest of the year, protocol could change.

"There is a gap, and I'm not going to pretend that there's not one but that's where schools have to make a difficult decision,” added Dr. McCormick. “Do they have the capacity as a community to run e-learning or do they just have to close their doors and not run e-learning? So at this point we are collecting data on how widespread e-learning is so we have a better handle on what are those needs and what's happening with that practice at this point."

State officials aren't sure what that means for students trying to finish their work for the school year, but it's something they are working diligently to figure out.

"There is instruction that is being lost our districts and schools are doing the best they can given the situation,” added Dr. McCormick. “We will have to upon re-entry, assess the situation and address those problems down the road.”

Along with closing school till May 1st the governor also canceled all state mandated assessments for the current academic year.

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