TERRE HAUTE, Ind. (WTHI) - A long-awaited normal school year is ahead for the Vigo County School Corporation. In a unanimous vote, Vigo County school board members voted to approve the school's official reopening plan.
After a difficult year of teaching and learning, many students and staff are looking forward to a sense of normalcy back in the classroom.
"We are coming back five days a week for elementary, middle school, and high school," Dr. Rob Haworth, the Vigo County School Corporation's superintendent, said. "We are going to try to have school as normal as we possibly can."
Local healthcare leaders and the corporation's COVID-19 task force worked together to create this plan.
Some of the specifics of the plan include:
- Recommended, but not mandated, mask-wearing in the classroom for unvaccinated students and staff
- Masks will be required on school buses due to federal guidelines
- Enhanced cleaning measures including an increased number of hand sanitizer locations
- Safe distancing and seating charts in the classroom, cafeteria and on school buses
- Daily "self-checks" by parents to ensure their student is not exhibiting COVID-19 symptoms
- A proximity letter will be sent home with students if they were in close contact with someone with a positive case
- COVID positive students will quarantine for a given number of days following state and local health department guidelines before returning to school
- Testing will be available for symptomatic students at the central nursing offices
The official plan ultimately saw a unanimous 7-0 vote from board members. But one Vigo County school parent spoke up at the meeting, saying she does not approve of the newly approved plan.
"I am a parent, and I have several young kids," None of them are eligible to be vaccinated yet, and per the CDC recommendations, I think very strongly that the way to keep them the safest this fall is to follow the CDC's recommendations of fully universally masking all unvaccinated members in our school community."
Board members say they feel confident in the plan and they will be carefully following all state and federal orders. The corporation is still highly recommending unvaccinated students and staff to wear masks, but they will not require it.
For families who are not comfortable with in-person learning yet, there are still virtual options available through the Vigo Virtual Success Academy.
School leaders say it's important to note that the plan is open to change, especially if there is new guidance from the state or federal governments.
Additionally, school leaders are encouraging all of those who are eligible to get the vaccine to do so. They say this is the best way to protect yourself and everyone else in the classroom and outside in the community.