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Indiana’s color-coding system of recommendations for school operations is another valuable resource in the time of the COVID-19 pandemic, and educators would do well to make good use of this resource.

The site went live last week and tracks recommendations for potential school closures during the coronavirus pandemic.

The system assigns each county a color-coded rating based on the number of novel coronavirus cases and the risk of spreading the virus. Colors range from blue, meaning that school operations may proceed as normal (with social distancing in place) to red, meaning that all education should be remote.

The new system provides only recommendations, not mandates, meaning schools are not obligated to follow them. Districts aren’t required to test students, faculty or staff, and there are no penalties for schools that don’t comply with the state’s recommendations.

Recommendations are generally preferable to mandates, but we urge educators and school administrators to take state recommendations seriously.

In-person education is important to children, but schools are also charged with the safety and well-being of children. Remote learning should remain in place as an option.

Parents, teachers and government officials ought to continue to work together for plans that account for a rich and thorough education along with a genuine concern for the health and welfare of students.

This is yet another example of adapting to the new normal.

The state’s color-coded system provides a simple resource that has the potential to save lives while helping educators provide a robust educational experience.

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