Children working outside on project
COVID-19 Information » COVID-19 FAQ

COVID-19 FAQ

In what conditions may a school or the entire district participate in learning from home?
Portage Township Schools may choose for a school to learn from home in the event that one of the following conditions is present:
1. There is a government-ordered stay-at-home mandate for our community, county, or state.
2. One or more school builds experience a number of teachers, custodial staff, food service staff, and other staff members on quarantine that would present in-person learning from effectively taking place.
3. There is a concerning number of positive cases and/or quarantines within a school building or the district.

Can I choose to have my child continue with virtual learning instead of participating in in-person instruction?
Yes. Students are able to participate in virtual learning through PTS Virtual. Families can sign up their child for virtual learning before the start of each quarter. Students enrolled in virtual learning must remain virtual for the duration of the quarter.

Are students required to conduct health checks each day?
Families must conduct self-checks at home each day. Students should stay home if they have a new cough, new loss of taste or smell, or have a temperature over 100 degrees. 

Are students required to wear masks all day?
Masks are required any time social distancing cannot be achieved. For example, masks must be worn on the school bus and in the hallways; however, students are able to remove their masks when they are seated at their desks and working independently. Our principals and teachers will provide our students with guidance as to the appropriate times to wear their masks.

What kinds of masks are acceptable?
Face masks must meet the CDC requirements. Effective face masks fit snug against your face and cover your face from your nose to your chin.

How do I know if my child has been exposed to COVID-19?
The CDC considers someone to be a close contact if they have been within six (6) feet of an individual with COVID-19 for fifteen minutes or more. Anyone who has been exposed to COVID-19 should quarantine for 14 days from the date of exposure.

How does PTS staff determine who is a close contact?
Portage Township Schools follows guidance from the Porter County Health Department, Indiana State Health Department, and CDC in determining close contacts at school. When a student or staff member reports that they have tested positive for COVID-19, we determine the last day they were in the building and when their symptoms (if any) began. We then use seating charts and logs to determine which child or staff, if any, were within six feet of the individual for 15 minutes or longer during a period when they could have been contagious (48 hours before the onset of symptoms or the positive test).

What happens if my child is a close contact at school?
If your child is a "close contact," you will receive a phone call from your child's school. In this phone call, you will be directed to have your child quarantine for 14 days from the last date of exposure and asked to pick up your child from school. You will also receive an email with the details of your child's quarantine.

What should I do if someone in our household has tested positive for COVID-19?
If an individual in your household has tested positive for COVID-19, please call your child's school and report it. If the positive individual is able to isolate within your home, your child will need to quarantine for 14 days. If the positive individual is unable to isolate at home, your child will need to quarantine for 24 days.

What should I do if my child tests positive for COVID-19?
If your child tests positive for COVID-19, contact your child's school as soon as possible. Your child's school will provide you with quarantine instructions for your child and the conditions that must be met before your child's return to school. We will also begin contact tracing to determine if any staff members or students need to quarantine due to being a close contact.

Are visitors allowed inside the school building?
In order to stop the spread of COVID-19, we will be limiting visitors within our school buildings this year. Families who need to bring an item to a student at school may do so and leave the item with staff in the main office.

How are Individualized Education Plans (IEPs) affected?
Students who have an IEP will continue to receive the services they need to be successful as outlined in their plans. Precautions will be put into place to ensure the health and safety of the student and staff.

Are Portage High School students able to participate in vocational classes through the Porter County Career Center?
Yes. The Career Center will continue to host vocational classes during the 2020-2021 school year with proper health and safety precautions put into place.

Will bus service continue this year?
Yes. Families are encouraged to self-transport when possible. Students riding the bus will need to wear a mask for the duration of their ride.

Are students able to take field trips this year?
For the health and safety of all students and staff, PTS has canceled all field trips until further notice. 

Are students able to participate in extra-curricular activities?
Yes. Elementary students may participate in after-school clubs virtually. Certain middle school clubs and sports will take place in-person while others will be virtual. High school students will be able to participate in after-school clubs and sports in-person. Please visit www.ihsaa.org for information regarding guidelines and requirements for student athletes.

Will before-school and after-school care programs continue to be available?
Yes. Please contact these organizations directly for more information on their programs and requirements.

Does Portage Township Schools operate a dashboard for COVID cases?
Portage Township Schools publishes a COVID-19 District Dashboard and updates it each day. The dashboard contains a great deal of pertinent information related to staff and student cases. The dashboard is available here on our website.

Will before-school and after-school care programs continue to be available?
Testing is available at a variety of locations within and surrounding our community. The Porter County Health Department website lists a number of sites that will provide testing free of charge. It is recommended to wait five days after exposure for the most accurate testing.