WEST TERRE HAUTE, Ind. (WTWO/WAWV) — The Vigo County School Corporation board of trustees on Monday will consider a recommendation to move grades 7-12 to universal masking indoors. Currently, grades PreK-6 in Vigo County have universal masking inside schools, but grades 7-12 can currently choose to remove their mask in forward-facing instruction.
The recommendation is based on guidance from the COVID-19 Advisory Group, a group of healthcare professionals and community members.
“School is important not just to our students but our entire community,” Dr. Rob Haworth, superintendent, said. “By recommending these changes, we are simply trying all we can do to keep school in session and parents working.
This recommendation is based on the rising numbers of cases and hospitalizations in Vigo County, according to the advisory group.
“Yesterday, we released our new COVID-19 Dashboard, which we will update on Wednesdays,” Haworth said. “The dashboard shows that COVID-19 is something that our community is struggling with. Specifically, we are concerned about the 39% rise in new cases in our community from last week to this week. Hospitalizations are a concern as well, as our hospitals have reported a 30% increase in COVID-19 hospitalizations from last week to this week. Thankfully, our staff quarantines and positive cases remain low and we are hopeful that they continue to stay low so our schools can stay open. However, most of our positive student cases are at the middle and high school levels, and moving to universal masking at these levels will allow us to avoid quarantines in our middle and high schools and keep students in school.”
The advisory group also took into account the Governor’s Executive Order 21-24 issued on Sept. 1. By making this change, the district could follow the governor’s executive order, which allows for us to avoid quarantines in the classroom when all are masked. Therefore, quarantines–and students missing out on school–would only happen when students are unmasked at lunch.