Vigo County high school students return to in-person learning 5 days a week

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TERRE HAUTE, Ind. (WTWO/WAWV)– Vigo County high school students, who chose in-person learning, returned to the building five days a week starting on Monday.

It’s the final step in the Vigo County School Corporation’s phased in-person return.

Dr. Tammy Rowshandel, principal at Terre Haute South, said it feels good to be back in the building.

“It certainly sounds like the Terre Haute South Vigo High School that we know and love. It’s been great being back and feeling all that energy with them all together again,” she said.

Terre Haute North, Terre Haute South and West Vigo High School students are required to wear face coverings, frequently sanitize their hands and practice social distancing while inside the building and at sporting events.

They’ve also added more seating areas and assigned seats for contact tracing efforts. 

Dr. Rowshandel said safety was top of mind while planning high schoolers’ return.

“Families just want to be reassured that we’re putting forth all the safety precautions we can. Our kiddos have struggled academically without their teachers. Our kids need to be back in school with their teachers,” she noted.

Bill Riley, Director of Communications for Vigo County School Corporation, said there’s a lot at stake for high schoolers.

“I think at the high school level, one of the reason we wanted to get students back is because the stakes are much higher for them. Nothing replaces face to face instruction. We’ve got students with AP credit, with dual college credit and with graduation credits at stake.”

The current metered plan was created by the VCSC’s COVID-19 Task Force and the Vigo County Teachers Association.

With guidance from the Vigo County Health Department, school officials said they aren’t expecting to see an uptick in cases at any of the district’s 27 schools.

The district updated their mitigation plans through learning what worked for other schools across the state. 

The school corporation plans to continue evaluating Vigo County case numbers and updating their mitigation plans as time goes on.

But Riley said keeping students in the classroom is and will continue to be a collaborative effort.

“The number of cases our county is seeing, we’re not seeing that at the same rate in our schools. But with all the cases that come in from the community to our schools, we do have an effect on that. We want to make sure we’re not spreading it. But it’s a lot easier when the community rallies behind our schools .”  

Other learning methods, such as their virtual and hybrid curriculms, are still available for students who don’t return to the classroom full time.

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