VIGO COUNTY, Ind. (WTH) - Wearing a mask has become a staple of school districts’ back-to-school plans. A question a lot of you have been asking us here at News 10 is how will mask-wearing be enforced this school year. News 10 caught up with the Vigo County School Corporation’s Communication’s Director Bill Riley. He explained what your child should expect this fall.
Riley says they received one mask per student and one per staff member from the Governor’s office. The school district also purchased masks for each student and staff member. Thus, everyone in the corporation will have two reusable and washable masks.
Riley says they believe the mask debate is over: They are useful, effective, and will help keep everyone in their buildings safe and, most importantly, in school.
Masks will be required on busses, at all times when students are inside, and outside when social distancing isn’t possible. Riley says masks are a part of the dress code this year and, similar to if a student doesn’t abide by the dress code, they will be given an opportunity to fix it.
“I don’t think we’re really looking forward to being the ‘mask police’ necessarily. We want everybody to be safe in our building,” Riley explained, “We’re pretty committed to not making this a discipline issue. It’s simply, ‘your mask is part of the dress code, let’s fix that today, let’s fix that for the future and let’s get back to learning’.”
Riley says the school corporation doesn’t want the mask to distract from learning this year. Vigo County School Corporation will begin school on Tuesday, August, 18th. The goal is to have the safest possible environment to keep kids in school and he says masking up is a big part of that.
Riley says the first question the health department will ask when contact tracing is ‘was everyone wearing a mask?’. He says this is critical to make sure Vigo County schools avoid any COVID-19 interruptions.
“I think that’s one of our biggest concerns is keeping enough staff in out buildings to make school happen,” Riley said, “It’s one of the reasons we are taking the conservative approach we are with masking to keep kids safe.”
Riley says this is to ensure they continue to get the best possible learning experience this fall.
“We want the least amount of remote learning possible,” Riley said, “We’re looking for the community’s help. They need to mask up when they’re out in public. Social gatherings—let’s mask up, let’s get our numbers lower and let’s get our kids in school more.”
Riley says one thing is for sure—students and teachers are excited to be back in the classroom. He believes Vigo County School Corporation will provide the best possible learning environment this fall and weather the COVID-19 storm effectively.
“We’re excited to get started. I think once we get started and understand what this year is going to look like, we’ll get into a rhythm,” he concluded, “There could be interruptions, but we’re hoping to keep as many kids in our schools as possible.”
Riley says they have a deep pool of substitute teachers ready to go for this year to help with any COVID-19 related issues. This is to accomplish the goal he stressed over and over again: keep kids in school. He says masking up will go a long way in making that happen