NE Indiana schools explain why they didn’t report COVID cases to the state


FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) – While many of the schools not reporting COVID-19 cases to the Indiana State Department of Health are small, private schools, WANE 15 noticed several schools in larger, public districts were on the “not reported” list.

As of the latest state dashboard update on Sept. 7, Fremont High School, Carlin Park Elementary School, Columbia City High School and all four of the schools in Whitko Community Schools were listed as not reporting COVID cases to the state.

WANE 15 reached out to the superintendents of the four school districts asking why those schools aren’t reporting cases to the state. Responses from Whitley County Consolidated Schools and Fremont Community Schools said their schools should now be reporting cases.

Laura McDermott, Ph.D., Superintendent of Whitley County Consolidated Schools on Columbia City High School:

In order to report to the state, each principal needs a log in and password to access the site and submit the report.  Our high school principal is new to his position this year.  We worked to try and find who was responsible for sending out the log ins from the state.  We finally received the information through our professional organization, Indiana Rural Schools Association, Christopher Lagoni, who was able to provide us with the name of the person at the state who could provide the log in information.  As you can imagine this took some time.  Mr. Mullett is now reporting the information to the state and that information should be viewable soon.

Bill Stitt, Ed.D., Superintendent of Fremont Community Schools on Fremont High School:

We missed some cases when our school nurse was out. They were posted on the Binax site and not transferred to the Department of Health site. All cases should be updated this morning. At this time (knock on wood) we have had very few COVID positive cases in the high school and elementary. Our 6th grade and 8th grade have had the most cases.

Metropolitan School District of Steuben County told WANE 15 on Thursday that Carlin Park Elementary’s lack of reporting was due to “a mistake on the part of the state.” Interim Superintendent H. Steve Sprunger said the district was going to contact the state to see where the disconnect was. 

“The good news is” Sprunger said, “this elementary school is so far COVID free.”

WANE 15 also reached out to Whitko Community Schools to find out why Whitko Career Academy, Whitko Jr/Sr High School, South Whitley Elementary and Pierceton Elementary School are all not reporting COVID cases. The district hasn’t responded yet.

The school distribution map is updated every Monday.

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