Return to School Update July 02, 2020

Posted on July 2, 2020

The communication below was emailed to staff and parents today:

Thursday, July 2, 2020

Dear P-H-M Families,

I know that you have been anxiously waiting for the details on our plan to return to school on Wednesday, August 19 (for grades 1-12) and August 20 (kindergarten).

The COVID-19 pandemic has affected every aspect of our lives. There have been many changes in our daily lives making things our new normal, at least for a while. This also means that the procedures in our school buildings must also change to ensure the highest health and safety guidelines. Working in concert with the St. Joseph County Health Department and following the guidance and recommendations by the CDC, Indiana State Department of Health, Governor’s Office, and the IDOE we have developed a re-entry plan for Penn-Harris-Madison Schools.


While we believe that the most effective instruction for your child happens in a classroom Face to Face with our highly qualified teachers, there will be an online Virtual option available for those who elect not to attend in-person.

Click the two links below to read more about the two different options that parents can choose between to have their students educated this fall:

  1. Face to Face LearningThis plan also details how Transportation, Food Service, Recess, Cleaning, Extracurricular Activities will be handled in our facilities.
  2. VirtualThis plan breaks down how online learning will take place at the three grade levels (elementary, middle and high school).
  3. WHAT IS YOUR CHOICE? To help us plan for the Fall, we are asking parents to complete a survey with their choice for instruction for the upcoming school year.​ Please complete this survey by Monday, July 13.

As we communicated Tuesday of this week, we will follow our 2020-2021 school year calendar and these health and safety guidelines:

  • Per the St. Joseph County Health Department Public Health Order, staff and students are required to have a mask (face covering) with them at all times. There will be times indoors or in enclosed spaces that 6 feet of physical distance cannot be maintained.
  • Students and staff will be required to be fever free for 72 hours without use of fever reducing medication before returning to school.
  • To maintain safe social distancing, lunch times will be staggered and available open space will be maximized.
  • Restrict visitors and guests in our school buildings.
  • Maximize instructional space and scheduling flexibility.
  • Employee enhanced cleaning procedures with additional hand sanitizer stations.
  • Identify and separate space in school clinics to treat symptomatic students.
  • Discontinuation of perfect attendance incentives for the 2020-21 school year.

For more detailed information on the procedures for masks, social, distancing, cleaning, etc. on P-H-M buses and within our schools, please click here to review the Face to Face Return to Learn model.

We understand that these documents can’t answer every question about re-opening, however, we hope it gives you the framework necessary to make the best decision for your family, whether that’s  returning to school, or online learning. Individualized school plans are being created and will be communicated to families and posted on school websites on August 1st. If you have additional questions in the meantime, please email

If the number of cases of COVID-19 reaches a level where local and state officials determine that school cannot meet in person, eLearning will resume and would be similar to what it was last spring with some improvements based on the parental feedback we received. We tested some new education models over the summer with online summer school and feel confident that if we have to return to eLearning that we can continue to provide a quality education while also offering social emotional supports.


Dr. Jerry Thacker, Superintendent
Penn-Harris-Madison School Corporation

Last Modified July 2, 2020