Are you ready?


staff report

When it comes to returning through the doors of Ben Davis within the next 10 days, know that it is safety first for all staff and students.

“Safety and security are the most important things,” principal Sandra Squire told her staff during opening day activities this week.

Students are returning to Ben Davis for the first time since March 12, when the physical building closed due to the spread of the coronavirus. While online learning continued through the end of May, no one was allowed in the building for two months. Custodians and administrators returned in May to begin preparations for the 2020-21 school year.

When students return next week, expect:

  • a new hybrid learning schedule that has students with last names A-K attending in-person schooling on Mondays and Tuesdays and last names L-Z on Wednesday and Thursday.
  • when students are not in school, they will be do e-learning on the other three days of the week

That means students last names L-Z will start in the building on Wednesday while those last names A-K will receive first week instructions virtually from their teachers. A-K students will have their first day of in the building classes on August 17. All teachers will be in the building for office hours and virtual instructions every Friday.

“Our children need their teachers,” superintendent Dr. Jeff Butts said during his opening day virtual remarks Thursday.

In addition to our world going through a global pandemic since students were last in our building, our country also has gone through a difficult period of social unrest, resulting in protests throughout the country and a two week period in June where daily protests occurred throughout Indianapolis.

“We must all be prepared to have these difficult discussions with ourselves, our students and our community,” Butts said of the social unrest that has become part of our new normal.

There will be plenty of “new” things within the building for students when they return, including:

  • everyone in the building will be expected to wear face masks
  • students will sit in individual desks spread throughout the cafeteria, the commons and the Hall of Champions for lunch (with assigned seating)
  • no furniture in the commons
  • breakfast will be served from 14 locations throughout the building with students eating in their first period classroom
  • social distancing will be encouraged throughout the building with X signs positioned throughout the halls to encourage a six foot distance between individuals
  • classrooms with less furniture and assigned seating will be done alphabetically to help with contact tracing
  • no daily Impact (Impact will meet virtually every Friday)

During our time away from school, a group of 190 individuals from throughout the township met regularly to discuss plans to return to school. That group was divided into seven committees and they spent time evaluating, revising and rewriting multiple plans for our safe return to school.

“We learned how valuable our schools are to our children and our community,” Butts said. “We learned that our children need the safety and security of their schools.”

So with that in mind, Wayne Township is set to open their school doors. But safety and security are foremost in the minds of every administrator, teacher, custodian and support staff that will greet students next week.