March 2020 News

Letter from the Executive Director

Tuesday, March 17, 2020

Dear Indiana Academy Parents and Students:

We know you have a lot of questions during this rapidly-changing situation, and we are committed to keeping you informed with updates as soon as we have information to share with you.

As you may already be aware, President Mearns sent out a letter last evening, March 16, to the Ball State community that outlined additional measures at the university including the closure of residence halls on March 29, 2020. In alignment with that response, the Indiana Academy’s Wagoner residence hall will close on Sunday, March 29 at 6 p.m. Students and families may begin moving out as soon as practicable to meet this deadline. Specific details about move-out including book returns will be communicated to you as soon as we have that information.

Students will continue with e-learning through Canvas that began on Monday, March 16. If students anticipate that they will not have online access after moving out, please communicate your situation to Dr. Dain Kavars (765-285-7461 or ).

At this time, the Office of Mental Health and Support Services is exploring ways to continue to support our students after move-out while still following guidelines and recommendations regarding COVID-19. We will communicate with you as soon as possible how the Office of Mental Health and Support Services will move forward with providing mental health support to our students and what that will look like in the coming days, weeks, and months. Our SLCs will also continue to be available as a resource for our students.

Again, we know that you likely have a lot of questions. As decisions are made and approved, we will communicate that information to you as quickly as possible. We are all dealing with unprecedented circumstances, and we appreciate your continued understanding and patience.

With gratitude,

Dr. Vickie Barton
Executive Director

Message from Burris Athletic Director

Friday, March 13, 2020

Dear Parents,

In keeping with Ball State guidance regarding response to COVID-19, all athletic events, including practices and awards ceremonies for winter and spring sports are cancelled. As a unit in Teachers College, this decision aligns with that made by Ball State University in compliance with the Mid-American Conference’s recent directive. We have the same responsibility for and commitment to assuring the safety and well-being of all student athletes at University Schools, as we do for Ball State University.

We will continue to monitor developments and as soon as there’s a possible change, we will be in touch. While to date, there has not been a single identified and confirmed case of COVID-19 on the Ball State campus, Burris, the Indiana Academy, and Muncie community, we want to be cautious. I appreciate your understanding. Please feel free to contact me with your questions.


Mr. Chad Wlodarek
Athletic Director
Burris Laboratory School & the Indiana Academy

E-Learning Announcement

Friday, March 13, 2020

Dear Parents and Guardians,

This message is to provide information regarding the switch to e-learning that will begin Monday, March 16 at the Indiana Academy. All course materials will be shared through Canvas for all Academy, Burris and Ball State University classes.

  1. Course delivery methods – Classes will be delivered in several different formats as announced by the instructor. These are:
    • Synchronous – Students should log-in at the class’s regular meeting time for instruction.
    • Asynchronous – The course will not meet at the class regular meeting time. Students can check Canvas anytime for their course materials and instruction.
    • Hybrid – Portions of the instruction will be synchronous and other parts asynchronous.
  2. Office Hours – Faculty have the option to work from their Academy offices or from home. Some will hold their previously announced office hours and others will arrange new times. Faculty are being asked to announce their office hours and availability. Please remember that all faculty can be contacted by e-mail. Direct contact by phone, using “Conferences” (video chat option in Canvas) or Skype can be arranged by request.
  3. Assessments – Will move to more formative assignments and fewer summative assignments. For example, students may be asked to complete frequent concept checks, short homework assignments, quizzes or participate in discussion threads. Fewer large traditional tests will occur because of exam security issues.
  4. Attendance – Since the course delivery methods will vary, attendance will be tracked through the completion of assignments. Students should submit work as announced in Canvas.
  5. Technology – We appreciate that internet and technology access will vary from student to student. Please contact the instructor immediately if access to course materials is problematic so that alternate methods can be identified.
  6. Pacing – Students should check Canvas frequently for new course materials and assignments.
  7. Keys to success – The keys to success in an e-learning environment are staying current with assignments and communication. Instructors will publish their materials on Canvas at different times and rates. Students must check Canvas regularly to stay current with the assignments. Problems (technology concerns, delays due to illness etc.) should be communicated with the instructor as soon as possible.

Thank you in advance for your patience and flexibility as we move all courses to an e-learning environment. Having taught e-learning courses myself for many years, I know that this environment has its challenges, but can also be very educationally rewarding.

Please contact me at 765-285-4136 or if I can be of any assistance. For further updates on the COVID-19 and the Indiana Academy, please go to

Dr. Jeff Smith
Director of Academic Affairs

Letter from the Superintendent

Thursday, March 12, 2020

Dear Indiana Academy Parents,

Circumstances surrounding the novel COVID-19 virus are rapidly changing around the world. To date, there has not been a single identified and confirmed case of COVID-19 on the Ball State campus, Burris, the Indiana Academy, and Muncie community. However, in accordance with university guidelines outlined yesterday in a message from President Geoffrey Mearns, who is committed to continuing quality education while helping protect all members of our campus community, beginning Monday, March 16, 2020, we will deliver all instruction online until further notice.

As the university is remaining open, although delivering instruction online, the Academy dorm will also remain open. Should you choose to pick up your student, please understand that there is no option for reimbursement. Students are expected to complete course expectations whether or not they remain in campus housing during this time.

Thank you for your understanding as we adapt to this new form of instruction.


Bob Marra
Superintendent of University Schools

Indiana Academy Special Events Update

Thursday, March 12, 2020

Indiana Academy Parents, Students, and Staff:

In an e-mail from the president of Ball State yesterday, we were informed that “all University-sponsored/funded events of 100 people or more” are suspended from March 16th to April 30th. This decision, along with many other campus precautions, was made in response to the rapidly changing situation with COVID-19.

The following Indiana Academy events fall within the scope of this announcement and have been suspended:

  • Lip Sync and Talent Show (March 19th)
  • Prom (April 4th)
  • Academy Awards and Slideshow Banquet (April 22nd)

This is disappointing news for all of us at the Academy, but please know that our priority is for the safety and well-being of our students, staff, and families. Many thanks to the SLCs, PAs, and students who have dedicated time and effort into planning excellent events. In our efforts to celebrate the 2019-2020 Academy school year, we plan to continue with Academy Awards voting and Slideshow production.

Thank you for your understanding and patience as we navigate our way forward.

Important Notice

Monday, March 9, 2020

Parents and Guardians:

Today we learned that one Burris Laboratory School student spent Spring Break in one of the countries most affected by COVID-19, the disease caused by novel coronavirus. We stress that the student has no symptoms of COVID-19 nor do we have any confirmed cases of the disease at Burris, the Indiana Academy, or Ball State University. However, out of an abundance of caution, Burris has sent the student home and asked the student to remain at home for 14 days. In addition, the Burris building will be thoroughly cleaned today.

We ask anyone who has spent time abroad in a country that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has identified as a Level 3 Travel Health Notice, whether you are a student or a parent, to socially distance yourself for 14 days. The CDC recommends that people who are sick with COVID-19, or suspect that they are, stay home unless they are seeking medical care. Again, we remind you that we have no confirmed cases or anyone reporting symptoms at Burris, the Indiana Academy, or on the Ball State University campus.

We thoroughly cleaned the Wagoner Residence Hall during Spring Break last week, and we will continue to actively clean common areas. At this time, Burris and the Indiana Academy will continue classes as planned.

We urge you to consult the CDC website to learn more about the virus, prevention, symptoms, and treatment. In addition, Ball State has launched to keep the community informed.

Again, at this time, the Indiana Academy, Burris, and Ball State are not aware of any confirmed cases of COVID-19 on our campus. We are taking these precautions in the best interest of our students, families, faculty, and staff.