When classes begin Aug. 12, it will mark the first time in nearly a year and a half that all Carmel Clay Schools students are on campus together.
That’s what inspired the theme at CCS for the 2021-22 school year: The Pack is Back.
“The primary reason ‘The Pack is Back’ came out on top is because we didn’t want to give COVID any more space in our lives, but we want to celebrate that we’re back,” said CCS Supt. Michael Beresford, who selects a theme before the beginning of each school year.
Some elementary students attended in person throughout the previous school year, while others took classes virtually. Middle and high school students had the option to take virtual classes or a mix of virtual and in-person instruction. For many students, Aug. 12 will be their first time back to campus since the COVID-19 pandemic swiftly closed schools in March 2020.
While the elimination of virtual classes signals a return to normal, some elements of the school day will still be impacted by the pandemic.
“We’re still going to social distance 3 feet or as close to 3 feet as we can. We’re still going to be monitoring positive cases and contact tracing,” Beresford said. “We’re really hopeful those will be really small numbers.”
CCS officials announced July 21 that face masks would be highly recommended but not required for unvaccinated students and staff members, although since then — as COVID-19 cases have begun to rise again — guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has changed to recommend masks be worn indoors by all at school.
Beresford didn’t rule out the possibility of a mask requirement being reinstated before school begins, depending on guidance from health officials.
“The nice thing is if we need to pivot to masks, we’re good at it, so it will be an easy pivot if we need to mask up,” he said. “I’m not sure how many people are going to send their kids to elementary or sixth grade without masks, because I think our community will typically go with the recommendations of the medical field. We’ll see how that plays out.”
CCS is holding several events in the coming days to welcome students back to campus and help them get to know each other and their teachers. Visit ccs.k12.in.us/about/welcomeback for a full listing of events across the district.