‹ Back to List

ISTA calls on districts and state to do more to protect students and educators

Citing soaring cases of COVID-19 and multiple instances of unsafe practices impacting student and educator health, ISTA President Keith Gambill issued the following statement:

“Indiana is experiencing an unprecedented increase of COVID-19 cases across counties, communities and public schools. The state has reported a total of nearly 12,000 cases of COVID in our schools. Just last week, more than 3,300 new cases were reported. And since not all districts are reporting, those numbers are likely much higher. We simply cannot continue to put educators and Hoosier families at risk.

We’re calling on all local school districts to track and report data to the state and to adhere to the recommendations of the Indiana State Department of Health (ISDH) and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). While we believe some districts are trying to do the right thing, many are not. Using the state’s recommendations, nearly all of Indiana’s middle and high schools should be on a hybrid schedule at minimum.

Because of overwhelming staff shortages, we’re seeing teachers and staff being brought back to buildings without completing the CDC recommended 14-day quarantine period. We have teachers who are not just covering classes that have no teachers, but also filling in front office duties.

This situation is unsustainable and unsafe. If your county is red, ISTA recommends districts move immediately to virtual learning for all students.

We are also calling on Gov. Holcomb to require school districts to provide timely and accurate data on COVID cases so administrators, educators and parents can make informed decisions. And again, we need clear and specific measures that would direct districts to close schools based on community spread.

While we believe in-person instruction for students is best under normal circumstances, these aren’t normal circumstances. The lack of consistency within and across school districts is causing serious instability for students and educators alike. We simply cannot continue to put them and their families’ lives at risk. Taking stronger action now might mean we can avoid longer term disruptions in the winter and spring. We can and must do better.”