Back to School FAQs

What does each tier of the Back to School Plan mean?
The way in which our students will learn is based on the community spread of COVID-19. We can shift which tier we operate under based on guidance from the Porter County Health Department.
• TIER 1: GREEN - The community or contact spread of COVID-19 is low. Students will attend school in-person five days per week with precautions put into place.
• TIER 2: YELLOW - The community or contact spread of COVID-19 is moderate. Students will be put into Group A or Group B. Group A students attend school in-person on Monday and Tuesday with e-learning on Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday. Group B students participate in e-learning Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday and attend school in-person on Thursday and Friday.
• TIER 3: RED - The community or contact spread of COVID-19 is high. All students will participate in e-learning from home.

Will all schools operate under the same tier?
Not necessarily. If community spread is the factor, all schools will operate under the same tier. If there appears to be a contact spread within a school, we can place that school in a different tier in order to contain the spread within that building.

Under the Yellow Tier, can I request that both of my children are in the same group?
Yes. We will work with families to meet their needs while operating in the Yellow Tier.

Under which tier will the school year begin?
The tier on which we will start the school year will depend upon the community spread of the virus at the time. We are going to wait until closer to the first day of school to make a decision.

When will school begin this year?
The 2020-2021 school year will begin on August 12.

Will 6th grade and 9th grade students participate in an orientation day?
Yes. Students will participate in Orientation Day on August 11. The principals at each school will contact families to share these plans as we near the beginning of the school year.

Will students be 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. 

Will students be required to wear masks all day?
Masks will be required any time social distancing cannot be achieved. For example, masks will need to be worn on the school bus and in the hallways; however, students will be 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.

Will students receive masks to wear at school?
Yes. PTS will be providing each student with two cloth face masks that meet CDC guidelines.

Can I send to my child to school with a face mask from home?
As long as face masks meet CDC requirements, students may wear masks they bring from home.

Will students be able to bring backpacks?
Yes. Our elementary teachers will help our students store their belongings in a way that is safe and keeps our students healthy.

Will students in middle school and high school switch classes?
Yes. Students will progress from class to class with proper sanitation procedures to take place between each. Students will wear masks while traveling from class to class. Middle school team teachers are discussing the best way to transition students between their classes.

Are visitors allowed inside the school building?
In order to lessen 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 will Individualized Education Plans (IEPs) be 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.

Will students be able to participate in music classes?
Yes. Students in choir will need to wear their masks while signing. We are working with our band teachers and state music organization to determine the best course of action for conducting their classes while keeping students healthy.

Will Portage High School students be 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 bring their children to school when possible. Students riding the bus will need to wear a mask for the duration of their ride.

Will students be 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. 

Will students be 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.

Is there a virtual option?
Yes. Portage Township Schools is hosting PTS Virtual, an online program for students whose families believe keeping their children at home is the best option for them. Click here to learn more about PTS Virtual and to sign up.

Will after-school care programs, such as Y-Care and the Boys & Girls Club, be available?
Yes. Please contact these organizations directly for more information on their programs and requirements.
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