Listen Live

INDIANAPOLIS–For the first time in more than a year, Marion County high school students can return to the classroom full-time, albeit with some coronavirus restrictions in place.

Dr. Virginia Caine, director of the Marion County Health Department, said Thursday that students will be allowed back into the buildings as long as they meet certain safety requirements.

“They need to maintain social distancing of at least three feet and need to stay masked, facing the same direction in classrooms and contact tracing must be used,” said Caine.

Most high schools have been on a hybrid schedule (a mix of virtual and in-person), while most elementary and some middle schools have gone back to in-person learning five days a week.

Caine said Marion County has made “great strides” in the fight against the coronavirus. One of her goals was to see the county’s positivity rate drop below 5%.

“We’re not in the clear yet, but we still can see the light at the end of the tunnel,” said Caine. “We are down to a 2.9% positivity rate in this community. That’s because of all of you doing your part.”

The gold standard is to get down to 35 coronavirus cases per day, said Caine.

“We’re still not there yet for that metric. That’s an important metric,” said Caine.

LISTEN: Marion County Coronavirus Press Briefing

Caine said the health department will be increasing surveillance during the month of March to ensure restaurants and bars do not violate capacity limits.

Joe Hogsett, the mayor of Indianapolis, also spoke at the coronavirus briefing. He said lots of eyes will be on Indianapolis with the NCAA Tournament happening next week downtown.

“For March in Indy to be truly a success, it’s going to take all of us to practice the fundamentals,” said Hogsett. “Wear your mask, watch your distance, and wash your hands. Remember what made this month possible in the first place.”

LISTEN: Hogsett says “Practice the Fundamentals”