SOUTHEASTERN INDIANA — The public schools in most of the Daily News primary coverage zones – Decatur and Rush County – have recently amended their plans with respect to dealing with COVID and are again requiring students, staff and visitors in school facilities to wear a mask.
Decatur County Community Schools released a statement earlier this month that stated because of the high number of students and staff that have been subjected to contact tracing guidelines, DCCS decided to make some adjustments to its Covid Return To Learn Plan.
Masks are required but parents/guardians may sign a waiver to opt their student out of wearing a mask if the parent/guardians feels this is appropriate and safe for their student. It is up to the parent/guardians to determine what is in the best interest of their student in regards to wearing a mask at school. Masks are always required anytime students are on the bus.
Contact tracing with quarantine is now defined as anything less than 3 feet. For students exposed to a positive student who was within 3-6 feet, the parent/guardian will be notified, and the parent will make the decision to keep the student at home or continue to send them to school.
Quarantining will be for 10 days total.
Students at Home
1. Parents are expected to screen and monitor their students before each school day for the symptoms of COVID. If the child has any symptoms of COVID, the parents/guardians are urged to follow up with their primary care provider. Children with cough, runny nose, congestion and sore throat should not be sent to school without a different diagnosis.
2. Parents/guardians should encourage their students to wear a mask if they feel that this is most appropriate for their student’s health and well-being. Parents/guardians [were sent] an email with a Google Form to complete for each of their students. This form must be completed by the guardian to signify if they are opting in or opting out of mask wearing.
Superintendent Dr. Burns stated, “We believe that encouraging the use of masks will help cut down on the spread of Covid, and will help keep our students safe and present in school so that they may learn. Mask wearing, good hand washing and personal hygiene, along with social distancing are all ways we can hinder or slow down the spread of the Covid virus in our schools. DCCS is implementing these new policies and procedures while still trying to be respectful of personal beliefs.”
The release continued by stating that through the first month of the school year, DCCS has less than a 1% Covid transmission rate within its schools, and that school administrators will continue to monitor this as the year goes on.
The policy adjustments became effective September 1, 2021.
According to information posted on the Greensburg Community Schools website, beginning September 13, 2021 Greensburg Schools will require masks for all employees and students during school hours.
The post indicates that this is being done in order to keep students in school and limit the need to contact trace large numbers of students. A mask will be provided for any student that does not have one.
Pirate Online Academy is available to students that choose not to wear a mask.
Masks will be worn at school during the school day.
Masks will continue being required on all school buses.
Since masks are required, quarantine of close contacts with a positive case is not mandatory. Parents will be notified and the student should be monitored for symptoms. If a student develops symptoms they will be quarantined for 10 days.
Do not send your child to school if they have symptoms. Screen your child each morning.
Pirate Online Academy
Grades K-5 Students will use Edmentum Curriculum with an adult supervisor.
Grades 6-12 Students will use APEX Curriculum with an adult supervisor.
Contact your school office to register for Pirate Online Academy.
“We encourage in-person learning for all students but want to provide this viable option for some students,” Superintendent Tom Hunter stated. “If you have a high school student and decide the online option seems best for your child remember that it could affect their pathway and credits for graduation if they are not vigilant in classwork. Please work with us to get through this crisis. We are doing everything we can to keep children safe and still provide in person instruction. We can’t satisfy everyone but we can all work together for our children.”
Tuesday, the RCS Board of Trustees approved an adjustment to the Opening School Plan. The change involves a requirement for face coverings/masks to be worn inside of RCS facilities effective Thursday, Sept. 9.
According to RCS Superintendent Dr. Matt Vance several factors led to this decision including:
Governor Holcomb issued an Executive Order stating that all schools must follow the Control Measure in place from the Indiana Department of Health.
This left RCS with the choice of either quarantining all unvaccinated close contacts or requiring face coverings/masks. Up to this point, the number of students who were deemed in close contact is more than 600. The goal of RCS is to keep kids in school and students and staff from being quarantined. Those who are identified as close contact in a classroom and are not showing symptoms will not be required to quarantine. Close contacts will still be identified and parents will be notified. This Order is currently in effect until Sept. 30. The federal mandate for face coverings/masks to be worn on school buses is in effect currently until January.
The number of positive students in RCS increased significantly in the last week, as well as the number of positives in Rush County. Area hospitals are starting to see an increase in activity as well with positive patients.
RCS works closely with the Rush County Health Department on procedures, and the recommendation has been made for RCS to implement a face covering/masking requirement.
Face coverings/masks will be a requirement at RCS until Sept. 30. This could change if the Governor’s Order is extended or the local situation makes it necessary. The goal of RCS is to keep the students and staff safe while keeping schools open and as normal as possible, according to Dr. Vance.
Batesville Community Schools have not amended their original “blueprint” for dealing with Covid that was made public prior to the start of the current school year. (It is viewable at https://batesvilleinschools.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/08/BCSC_Re-entry_Plan-072821.pdf.)
BCSC Superintendent Paul Ketcham said school officials are keeping a close eye on any developments related to Covid and would make changes to the corporation’s current policy as they become necessary.