VIGO COUNTY, Ind. (WTHI) - The Vigo County School Corporation is preparing to welcome back more students for full-time in-person learning. The district announced its next steps on Wednesday.
News 10 sat down with Vigo County School Corporation’s Communications Director Bill Riley. He says this is all a part of the school district’s metered approach, and it’s on par with what they’ve been planning for the past two weeks.
Riley says Wednesday’s announcement is essentially “step 3” of their plan. This formalizes that all middle school students will return in-person full-time next Tuesday, October 13th. If all goes well, high school students may return the following Monday, October 19th. An announcement finalizing the plan will be made late next week.
Riley says “step 2” of the school district’s metered approach was getting the rest of the elementary schools back to in-person five days a week. They completed this step on Tuesday, October 6th.
Riley says schools will continue to require masking, encourage distancing, and employ enhanced sanitation measures. The Vigo County School Corporation will continue to offer fully-at-home options for students who need it. Riley spoke a little about what made them feel comfortable in this decision.
“What we’re looking at when we’re thinking about bringing more students back is we want to continue to see school not be a cause of spread,” Riley explained, “We’re not seeing evidence of spread within our schools. We’re doing it because it’s the right thing to do right now because we’ve demonstrated we can do it safely.”
Following the decision, Riley says the feedback the school district has gotten is positive.
“I think the general reaction is that people are relieved that we aren’t seeing any evidence of spread within our schools and we can step into a more normal schedule,” Riley said.
Riley says the school district carefully watched bigger Indianapolis schools come back from the start of the year and have very minimal issues. Bloomington schools are also in the process of returning full time. Riley says the school corporation feels good about where they are, and they will absolutely remain flexible.
“If we need to pull back whether it’s a particular school or a particular grade level we will do so,” Riley said, “We do not want to endanger anyone from a staff or student perspective.”
Less than one percent of Vigo County School students are quarantined. Riley says it’s time to focus on giving the best education possible to students while also keeping them safe.
“I think we’ve demonstrated over the last eight weeks that we can hold school safely during COVID-19,” Riley concluded, “We need to continue to remind our staff and students to mask up and to do the things that keep us safe throughout the day, but we’ve had good success doing that. It’s time, now, to focus more on the educational side of things.”
The corporation has also requested parents to use school busses to help ease congestion and pick-up and drop-off spots.
Right now, Vigo County had nine positive student cases in the past 14 days. In that same length of time, there have been five staff cases.
There are 106 students and 18 staff members in quarantine.