MCAS outlines plan for school reopening

Michigan City Area Schools has announced its reopening plan for the
2020-21 school year.

The plan, which was approved by the MCAS Board of School Trustees on July 7, was developed in consultation with the LaPorte County Health Department, with input from MCAS employee associations, staff, and parents. It is based on guidance from the Indiana Department of Education, the Indiana State Department of Health, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 

The MCAS Reopening 2020 plan uses a three-tiered, color-coded system that is based on the level of coronavirus spread present in the community. The level of spread will determine whether MCAS students are able to be in classrooms to receive instruction, or whether they will use eLearning. 

Under the green and yellow levels of the plan, students would attend schools, with a number of health and safety measures in place. Among the precautions:

  • Face masks/coverings will be required in instances where physical distancing cannot be achieved, including on school buses, passing in hallways, and in some classroom settings.
  • Handwashing and other hygiene protocols will be emphasized multiple times a day.
  • Students will be encouraged to bring water bottles; water fountains will be taken offline and touchless water filling stations will be used.
  • Enhanced cleaning/sanitizing procedures will be in place.
  • Classrooms will be reconfigured to accommodate physical distancing.
  • As possible, students will not share supplies; shared items will be sanitized frequently.
  • A separate clinic space will be set aside in each building for symptomatic students and staff waiting to be picked up.
  • Cafeteria seating will be adjusted and spaces such as gyms may be used for lunches. Food items will be pre-packaged and students will be prohibited from sharing food.
  • Visitors and volunteers will be limited in school buildings; masks will be required.
  • Families will be asked to screen children and keep them home if they are ill. Siblings of students in quarantine will also be asked to stay home. 
  • Perfect attendance incentives will be discontinued.
  • All staff will receive training on symptoms and precautions to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Students and families will also receive information about prevention and symptoms, and signage will remind all of good habits.

In addition, the reopening plan offers families choices for the 2020-21 school year. Students can attend traditional “brick and mortar” schools for in-person instruction or they can attend a 100% online program. During periods when traditional schools close due to weather, COVID level, professional development, etc., the district will utilize eLearning.

“The past few months have been challenging for everyone. However, we sincerely appreciate the guidance and collaboration of the LaPorte County Health Department and the valuable input from parents, staff, and school board members in designing this plan,” said Dr. Barbara Eason-Watkins, MCAS Superintendent. “This collective effort promotes the safety of our students and staff while offering high quality options desired by parents. We look forward to the safe and healthy reopening of our schools in August.”

Details about the learning options, along with the entire plan and Frequently Asked Questions, are available on the MCAS website at