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East Porter schools canceling e-learning option for most students in spring semester
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East Porter schools canceling e-learning option for most students in spring semester

From the 5 stories to know from the weekend: East Porter schools canceling e-learning option for most students in spring semester series
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School buses in this file photo.

The East Porter County School Corp. announced in an email Friday to remote learning families it is forgoing its e-learning option for most students in its six schools for the second semester.

Only students with medical conditions themselves, or family members in the same household, that put them in the at-risk category for COVID-19 infections may apply to stay on e-learning, the email from Superintendent Aaron Case states.

Those families are requested to provide a doctor's note by Dec. 16 stating why their students are unable to attend in-person learning.

The announcement comes as several Region school districts recently announced plans over recent weeks to transition back to virtual learning for various schools and timeframes, including Crown Point Community School Corp.; Gary Community School Corp.; Lake Central School Corp.; Merrillville Community School Corporation; Portage Township Schools; River Forest Community School Corp.; School City of East Chicago; School Town of Munster; and Tri-Creek School Corp.

East Porter's online COVID-19 dashboard, as of Saturday, shows 10 active cases collectively at Morgan Twp. elementary and junior/senior high schools; two cases collectively at Washington Twp. elementary and junior/senior high schools; and one case at Kouts Middle/High School.

A little over 160 of the more than 2,400 East Porter students are signed up for full-time e-learning. A little over 60 students tested positive throughout the semester and hundreds had to be quarantined through contact tracing. Only two students that tested positive weren't able to be traced to extracurricular activities or contacts outside of school, Case said.

"As new cases have been reported, we have had to quarantine fewer students because we have improved our mitigation strategies through spacing, scheduling and grouping students," Case said.

"While online learning is valuable, the stressors of immediately format shifting the way that we teach and learn is not setting any of us up for the best learning environment. While online learning can be successful, we believe that it is important now more than ever before to leverage face to face relationships as a humanistic approach to learning."

Case also said Gov. Eric Holcomb and the Porter County Health Department say schools are the "safest place to be," even during a spike in COVID-19 cases. He added that any spread appears to be occurring outside the regular school environment or school day.

Where to find COVID-19 data in schools:

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Visuals and Online Interactives Director

Kale is a photojournalist and digital producer with the Times. He is a Region native, hailing from Schererville. He shoots photos, writes feature stories and produces Byline, a Times podcast. Email: kale.wilk@nwi.com Phone: 219-933-3393

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