COVID

Masks required at Crawfordsville schools

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Masks are now being required to be worn in all Crawfordsville school buildings in an effort to limit student quarantines.

The policy was adopted by the school board Thursday in an emergency meeting called the day after Gov. Eric Holcomb signed a new executive order easing quarantine rules for schools with consistently-followed mask requirements.

Under Holcomb’s order, schools no longer have to quarantine students, teachers or staff who are close contacts as long as they don’t have any symptoms of COVID-19 and everyone in the building was wearing a mask throughout the day.

That means quarantined students who had been wearing masks can return to school based on state health officials’ interpretation of the order.

At Crawfordsville, everyone must wear masks indoors as long as Montgomery County is in the red or orange advisory level on the state’s COVID-19 tracking map, representing the highest levels of community spread.

The county’s current advisory level is red, while the weekly-two metric score is orange. Counties must remain at a lower weekly two-metric score for two consecutive weeks to move down to a lower advisory level.

When the status changes to yellow or blue, the previous procedure will be followed. That policy requires masks for 14 days in schools where the number of positive cases reaches 2.5% of the student population using a rolling seven-day count.

The board’s vote was 4-0, with president Steve McLaughlin absent. Schools are waiting on additional guidance from the state on whether to require masks at sporting events.

“It’s possible there will be some changes,” superintendent Dr. Scott Bowling said. The district is already taking mitigation steps at indoor sports events.

The question of whether masks should be required in the classroom divided parents as the new school year began. In a special meeting last month that drew nearly 200 people, the board voted to maintain a mask-optional policy for the year.

The mask procedure was revised weeks later amid a rising number of students testing positive for COVID-19.

“I would have made a motion [at the first meeting] for corporation-wide masking in exchange for eliminating the quarantine policy. The trade-off to me is absolutely a no-brainer,” said board member Kent Minnette, noting the particular challenge of quarantining students in need of support services.

“When they’re out, there is that horrible digital divide that exists,” board member Susan Albrecht added, “even in a small community like this where just kids do not have access to materials, the internet they need or the kinds of devices that will help them learn well.”

 

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

This story has been  updated to note the difference between the advisory level and weekly 2-metric score on the state's COVID-19 tracking map.

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  • ghendricks

    Should have been done from the start!! Doesnt take a genious to figure it out but redneck leaders are still being "reactive" instead of "proactive".

    This will never end because instead of trained medical experts making decisions, we have somebodys untrained Republican buddy who runs a flower shop making those decisions!!

    Friday, September 3 Report this