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Hammond chooses to delay students' return to school buildings

Contributed By:The 411 News

Superintendent's re-entry plan extends eLearning until February 16

Hammond's school district will delay its return to in-person learning for another month. Citing a surge in coronavirus infections, Supt. Scott Miller asked the school board at Tuesday's meeting to delay re-opening schools to in-person learning until February 16.

Hammond is like many school districts in the county and across the nation facing reopening decisions after the winter holidays, amidst the highest levels of infections seen during the pandemic.

Supt. Miller said the current COVID-19 positivity rate is higher than Lake County's Board of Health recommendation for operating schools. The threshold is 13%; the current positivity rate is at 15.8%. Hammond zip code data shows the current average weekly number of infections is 334 compared to 94 average weekly infections on October 6.

"It's not just a county issue, it's a Hammond issue," Miller said.

Supt. Miller's re-entry plan calls for extending full-time eLearning for 4 weeks, with a new start date of February 16. "We'll take it in 4 week chunks," Miller said.

At the February 2nd school board meeting, the board will choose to keep the updated start date or extend it another 4 weeks. The plan will be re-evaluated at first of the month board meetings.

The plan allows all parents the option to continue with eLearning for the remainder of the school year, regardless of the return date.

Safe Spaces for Special Education students at Hammond's Area Career Center will continue to operate as they have been. Safe Spaces will end when schools re-open for in-person learning.

Hammond's school district is the largest in Lake County.

Story Posted:01/06/2021

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