March 12, 2020

Coronavirus: Three Counties Shut Down Schools, Governor Announces Additional Steps

Article origination IPBS-RJC
Pixabay/public domain

Pixabay/public domain

In response to COVID-19 concerns, the state of Indiana is doing more to protect vulnerable Hoosiers from the virus. More Indiana universities canceled in-person classes and the Indiana High School Athletic Association is limiting spectator access to tournament events.

Holcomb Announces Preventative Steps For Coronavirus

Gov. Eric Holcomb announced Thursday steps Indiana will take to prevent the spread of COVID-19. The state had reported 12 known cases as of Thursday morning.

Effective immediately, non-essential gatherings in the state will be limited to no more than 250 people. This includes churches, conference rooms and auditoriums.

Among the other steps announced by the governor: Schools will get a 20-day waiver of the required 180 instructional days for the remainder of the school year. The news release said the days do not need to be used consecutively and schools are asked to plan for broader closures, like implementing e-learning days and remote classroom options.

School Districts Across The State Move To E-Learning Or Close

Monroe Co. schools are closed for two weeks starting Friday, March 13 due to the coronavirus outbreak. MCCSC officials say they were notified that families have been exposed to others displaying symptoms of the coronavirus.

The statement says contingency learning plans will take effect Monday, March 23 through Friday, March 27.

READ MORE: Amid Growing COVID-19 Fears, Rural School Districts Faced With Difficult Decision

All Marion County public school districts and mayor-sponsored charter schools will be closed beginning Friday, March 13 as a precaution against COVID-19. Coupled with spring breaks, schools will remain closed until Monday, April 6.

And all school buildings in Wayne County will be closed for three weeks, beginning on March 23. The county has multiple school districts, but all will adhere to the same closure schedule set by the Wayne County Health Department.

Hamilton County schools also announced Thursday night they would close effective Monday March 16. 

NCAA, Big Ten Cancel Tournaments

After the head coach of Nebraska’s men's basketball team fell ill, the Big Ten announced it was canceling all remaining championship games. Nebraska players were quarantined as a precaution. According to the league, no one on the team tested positive for the virus.

Separately, the NCAA announced it was canceling all winter and spring championship events including March Madness.

High School Sports Tournaments Limit Spectators

The Indiana High School Athletic Association will limit attendance for girls gymnastics and boys basketball tournaments. The organization is making changes to comply with guidelines on coronavirus from federal health officials.

The state girls gymnastics and regional boys basketball tournaments will go on – limited to 250 people, including athletes and coaches. Because of the number of officials and coaches necessary for gymnastics, no spectators will be allowed to the state tournament. 

For regional boys basketball, participating schools will be allotted 75 complimentary tickets for coaches, administrative staff and immediate family.

Vincennes, University of Evansville Cancel In-Person Classes

Vincennes University sent a release Thursday afternoon that it will be extending spring break for all VU students at all sites, including online.

Classes will resume on March 23 and will continue in online or alternative delivery formats until further notice. 

READ MORE: Online-Only Learning For Coronavirus Comes With Challenges

The University of Southern Indiana and University of Evansville are also following suit. USI said the campus will remain open but all in-person courses will be moved online or to alternative delivery by Monday, March 23 – it hopes to resume in-person classes on April 6. 

The University of Evansville announced it’s extending spring break through next Tuesday and moving all courses online next Wednesday.

UE said online classes will continue at least through March 27.

Contact Lauren at or follow her on Twitter at @laurenechapman_.

This is a rapidly evolving story, and we are working hard to bring you the most up-to-date information. However, we recommend checking the websites of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention or the Indiana State Department of Health for the most recent numbers of COVID-19 cases.

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