In a letter to parents, Dr. Virginia Caine said, “We are tired of the virus, but it’s not tired of us.” The letter included updates and information to encourage parents and caregivers to stay vigilant to prevent the spread of the virus.
Initial CDC guidance, before the school year began, stated vaccinated people no longer needed to wear a mask. As COVID-19 cases began to rise, the CDC then recommended that students and school staff wear masks regardless of vaccination status. Despite the updated guidance some school districts did not initially have a mask mandate. Then IPS and Washington Township updated their guidelines to include students, staff, and visitors wearing masks. More districts are now changing their stance.
Recently Lawrence Township and Brownsburg Community School Corporation updated its guidance.
Dr. Snapp, BCSC superintendent, shared “In the second full week of school, we have already surpassed our highest 2020-2021 weekly numbers of positive cases of COVID and number of students quarantined.” This is the data that was used to update the guidance to now require all staff and students to wear face masks beginning Wednesday, August 18, 2021.
On Monday, August 16, 2021, the Hendricks Regional Health Brownsburg Hospital had a line wrapped around the perimeter of the parking lot and onto the road as people waited to either obtain a COVID-19 test or vaccination. The wait was over three hours. One family had food delivered to their vehicle using a food delivery service while waiting. Children played in the grass with toys that were in their parents’ vehicles as they waited for hours. A hospital employee stated the demand increased starting around 11 a.m. The last people were given a test or vaccine right before 10 p.m.
The goal of mask mandates is to help keep COVID-19 cases low, and to not interrupt students’ education especially since their education has been interrupted to the point that educators are wondering how they can help students gain skills if they miss even more days due to contracting the virus or being quarantined by being a close contact to another student or staff member who tested positive for the virus.
Since COVID-19 guidance is constantly changing, it is important that parents know the way their children’s school communicates changes. If it is an emailed newsletter, parents should ensure they are receiving information or if it is an app, parents should ensure they are receiving the messages.
Parents, students, and teachers must work together to keep coronavirus exposure and educational interruptions low.