Students in Marion County can return to in-person instruction as early as January 4. This is two weeks earlier than the original public mandate which closed Marion County Schools until January 15.
In November, Marion County schools were required to return to virtual instruction for all grades K-12, including public and private schools. This mandate also included other restrictions on restaurants and bars. While the other restrictions remain in place, the public health order mandating virtual instruction can end on January 1 (students returning January 4).
Marion County Schools Can Reopen January 4
Dr. Virginia Caine, Director of the Marion County Public Health Department, said schools can reopen for in-person instruction provided they can adequately social distance students and staff and enforce the mask mandate for all students, grades 3 and up.
The change comes after new guidance from the Centers from Disease Control and Prevention, as well as new data regarding positivity rates among various age groups. The newest data shows groups 18 & under have the lowest positivity rates in our community. Dr. Caine says this data suggests those age groups are not contributing to the high positivity rate in Marion County.
Will Schools Reopen in January
Washington Township Schools made the decision to return to virtual instruction prior to the Marion County order and while the spring semester is set to start on January 4, it is unknown at this time if it will be virtual or in-person. Other schools may continue with virtual instruction longer than the expiration of the public health order.
Dr. Caine also encourages all families to avoid unnecessary contact with anyone outside of your home for 10 days prior to returning to in-person learning. This means that families should begin to prepare on Christmas Day if they are to return on January 4.
Restaurant and Other Business Restrictions
Other measures are still in place through at least January 15, per the public health order are:
- Bars capacity to 25% indoor, 100% outdoor.
- Restaurants 50% indoors, 100% outdoor. Outdoor tents can only be two sided.
- Midnight-5 am, live entertainment venues must be clear of all patrons.
- Gyms may remain open at 25% capacity
- Assisted living visitors must have a negative COVID 19 test in the last 72 hours to visit indoors
- Tables at restaurants may only seat 6 people in a party
- Funeral homes can be at 50% capacity
- Social gatherings are now limited to 25 people
- As a result of that these changes are effective Monday, November 16 at midnight.