Indiana Government Actions on COVID-19 – Updated 8/20/2020
Today’s update discusses:
- Miami County high school switching to remote learning
- Indianapolis schools beginning remote learning
- State and private groups providing physical and financial support to students
- Governor assuring schools of full funding for year
- State applying for federal lost-wage assistance program
- Maconaquah High School is switching to remote learning this week as three high school students and a food service employee tested positive for COVID-19. According to a post on the school’s social media site, the Miami County Health Department has done contact tracing, and families will be notified by the department if exposure occurred. The change to remote learning applies only to the high school.
- Indianapolis Public Schools began remote learning this week, which will continue until at least October 2. To make this possible, all students in grades Pre-K through 12 received electronic devices. A few minor glitches occurred on Monday (the first day back), but the district has worked to fix the problems and has ensured students and teachers that any future issues will be corrected quickly.
- Some locations in Indiana are offering free daytime “learning sites” to families struggling to oversee their child’s virtual learning. Eleven community centers and churches are offering to help oversee the educational needs of up to 500 children, thanks to a $200,000 donation from The Mind Trust, an education reform group. Facilities opened on Monday and will remain open until October 16.
- As many schools try to juggle virtual learning, Katie Jenner, Governor Holcomb’s senior education advisor, announced this week that more than $61 million in funding is being provided to help about 81 counties across the state with internet connectivity and access to technology devices.
- Governor Holcomb announced that the state’s public schools will receive full funding for the remainder of the year, even if they provide remote learning instead of in-person classes. This announcement, however, received criticism from those who are demanding a special session to “immediately and completely” address funding issues.
- Governor Holcomb announced that the state has applied for a federal lost-wage assistance program. This program would provide an additional $300 a week in unemployment benefits now that the additional $600 a week federal benefit has ended. According to the Indiana Department of Workforce Commissioner, Fred Payne, about $44 billion is available from the program, which is managed by the Federal Emergency Management Agency. States approved for funding need to reapply every three weeks. In addition, if state funding is approved, residents would need to receive at least $100 in weekly benefits to qualify.