FORT WAYNE, Ind. (Fort Wayne's NBC) - School leaders with Northwest Allen County Schools said parents will have the option to send their kids to school or choose remote learning for the upcoming school year.
School board members met at Middle Creek Middle School in Fort Wayne for their regular school board meeting Monday.
During the meeting, Superintendent Chris Himsel announced the reopening plans for the upcoming school year.
Himsel said parents have the option to allow their kids to return to school or choose remote learning. Depending on the results, the school district may have to hire more staff, Himsel said.
"To do things right is going to cost a little extra to make sure that we are being safe for all of our kids," Himsel said. "We do have some students who have underlying health issues where remote learning may be best for them."
New safety measures for the upcoming school year were also discussed. Himsel said all students in grades six through 12, and all employees will be required to wear a face mask. Himsel said the school district will educate parents and students about COVID-19 symptoms and will stress to students to stay home if they feel sick.
The district will also reduce and eliminate non-necessary furniture and equipment within the schools to create more space. Students will be encouraged to social distance, and to also meet outdoors whenever practical and when weather conditions cooperate.
Himsel said all equipment and surfaces will be wiped down.
During lunch, students will report to a seat and will wait to be called to the lunch line to reduce waiting in clusters.
"The message for our students is we miss them," Himsel said. "We want to be able to work with them, but we also want to create safe learning environments. So what we're working, we're working tirelessly ever since we closed our schools, trying to figure out how we can open in a safer way."
Himsel said the district is listening closely to local health experts.
He said the school board will aim to finalize their reopening plans by the end of July.
Himsel said plans are subject to change as the new school year approaches.