VERMILLION COUNTY, Ind. (WTHI) - The South Vermillion School Corporation will continue its plan to start the school year on Monday.
On Wednesday, the school board voted 4-3 not to delay during a special meeting, via Zoom.
Superintendent Dave Chapman recommended moving the first student day to August 19.
He said health officials suggested looking at this possibility. This comes after an increase of cases in the community.
Chapman said some staff are quarantining due to positive COVID-19 tests, or possible exposure to others who have been infected. He briefly mentioned the need to fill those roles, and the struggle to find substitute teachers even outside of a pandemic.
Chapman said the delay would have also allowed more time to hash out E-Learning plans, in case school goes remote, but he says right now, the school corporation isn't prepared to start the year with E-learning.
"This is not coming to you as a knee-jerk reaction. We have more and more staff members who are asking to quarantine because they are in situations where there may have been a positive test. We are not prepared to start the school year off E-Learning because we don't have everything in place at this point in time. It's a recipe for disaster. Because of trying to get the iPads out, trying to get the rosters together, trying to get all the things we do on the first two working days for the teachers and for the students to come in, to do all that," Chapman said before the board voted.
Chapman says the school corporation has done everything it can to create a safe environment for students and staff upon their return. Schools have PPE and hand sanitizer. The schools have also been set up for social distancing as much as possible.
A virtual option is also available. Wednesday, Chapman said about 150 students had signed up.
Chapman said the bigger issue is the wider community risk that cannot be controlled by the school corporation. Chapman said students have been out of the buildings for five months, and that he wants them to be back; but he mentioned it's important to do so in the safest manner possible.
He said he has a responsibility to ensure the 1,600 students and 300 staff in the district are safe. Chapman said there's no one way to handle the situation, and that he understands the issues of delaying school for parents, like childcare.
Chapman said the bottom line is if a child doesn't feel well, parents should keep him or her home. School officials are expecting high absence rates as a result.
And some people, like Alista Domeika think it's just not safe!
"All the schools across the United States are already opening and then they're getting case after case after case. I don't want them to open and then have to shut and put people's lives in danger because this is a very serious thing," Domeika, Clinton resident said.
Domeika said schools should continue to work remotely until they can find a safer way for everyone, or there is a vaccine.