FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) – As Allen County students head back to school this week, they’ll notice changes made to slow or prevent the spread of COVID-19 in their classrooms. Administrators have been working on plans to respond when a case is confirmed to a student or staff member.
School leaders have been working with the Allen County Department of Health in preparing for the new school year. Each system has posted its plan online.
Fort Wayne Community Schools
Similar to other Allen County school districts, Fort Wayne Community Schools administrators are counting on the Allen County Department of Health to be a partner when responding to positive cases of COVID-19 in staff or students. This includes an immediate notification sent from the school to the health department when a test comes back positive.
The health department is expected to help school staff decide who needs to be notified and quarantined. Close contacts would not be allowed back in the school building for 14 days from the date they last were around the COVID positive person.
After a case of COVID is confirmed, additional cleaning efforts would be deployed in spaces where the positive person has been. The school system will look to the department of health for guidance on if a classroom or school would need to be closed for contact tracing.
Only people who are directly affected by the situation are expected to be contacted.
East Allen County Schools
East Allen County Schools system was the first district to get back to class amid the pandemic.
If a student or staff member becomes sick, they will be put in an isolated area. The spaces have been designated in each building. School staff members have been trained on identifying COVID-19 symptoms. The Allen County Department of Health will be notified, as well as the emergency contact for the student.
If the staff or student tests positive for having COVID-19, it is advised that they stay home until “they have met state and local criteria to discontinue home isolation.”
The county health department has been put in charge of contact tracing and alerting others who might have been in contact with a student or staff member who tests positive for carrying COVID-19. Areas where the person has been will be closed off and cleaned.
Northwest Allen County Schools
According to the Northwest Allen County Schools plan, approved July 27, when an employee, student or visitor shows signs of symptoms, they will be evaluated by a school nurse. If the symptoms reflect a possible case of COVID-19, adults will be asked to leave, parents of the students will be called to pickup their student.
With any potential cases, the school nurse or an administrator will contact the Allen County Department of Health and restrict access to areas used by the sick person for cleaning.
NACS will work with the department of health in contacting others who may have had high-risk exposure to a person diagnosed with COVID-19, are in need of staying home and need to follow the Indiana Department of Health’s guidance. The Allen County Department of Health will make quarantine decisions.
Southwest Allen County Schools
Reporting COVID cases was a part of the SACS Families Return to School plan shared on July 22. Tracking potential cases within SACS school buildings begins with tracking daily attendance.
If a student shows signs of COVID-19 symptoms, they will be separated from other students until a parent can pick them up. Employees who may have symptoms will also be asked to leave, self-monitor and get guidance from their healthcare provider.
If a COVID test comes positive, the school district will reach out to the Allen County and state health departments for guidance. If a large number of students or staff become sick, closing classrooms, sections of the school or the entire building for deep cleaning will be considered.
A student or staff member’s return to school will be determined by the recommendations of the departments of health.