INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Indiana officials showed no signs Wednesday of slowing down school reopenings that are just weeks away even as the state has been seeing higher rates of people testing positive and being hospitalized for the coronavirus.
Some Indiana school districts are poised to resume classes with students in attendance starting in late July under guidelines issued by state education officials last month.
Health officials will monitor for COVID-19 outbreaks but school decisions will be made between school leaders and local health departments, said Dr. Kristina Box, the state health commissioner.
“We are going to do what we can to try to support schools so that they can stay open. We think that’s important, not only for the educational experience of our students but for their mental and their physical health, also.”
Indiana’s K-12 schools largely closed their doors in mid-March as coronavirus infections hit the state, and Gov. Eric Holcomb ordered in early April that schools remain closed through the end of the school year.
Indiana has recorded 2,732 confirmed or presumed coronavirus-related deaths, as the state health department added 15 fatalities to the death toll on Wednesday.
The state’s seven-day average rate for tests confirming COVID-19 infections had fallen to 4.1% on June 18, but grew to 5.9% as of July 4, Box said. Indiana hospitalizations with confirmed or suspected infections have gone from 595 on June 26 to 667 as of Wednesday.