Here’s how Allen County school districts are handling close-contact cases this year

Local News

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) – A new school year is underway, and hundreds of students have already had to quarantine around northeast Indiana due to a positive COVID-19 test or a possible exposure.

Smith-Green Schools, East Noble High School and Lane Middle School each shifted to virtual learning due to a combination of high COVID cases or students in quarantine.

Jessica Myers, a mother of four children, has a child enrolled at Lane. Just days after starting the new school year, Myers’ daughter was sent home to quarantine as she was identified as a close contact of someone who tested positive for the virus. After opting to learn virtually last year, Myers’ daughter now has to adjust to another sudden change.

“I feel like essentially we’ve lost this first week which is basically just reviews, but a lot of kids missed a lot last year doing the remote learning,” Myers said. “It wasn’t as easy to teach them those things last year. I feel like she’s going to be behind.”

With some schools shifting to e-learning in recent days, many parents like Myers are now wondering how long their child will need to stay at home if they are considered a close contact.

Scroll below to see each Allen County school district’s quarantine policy – how long a student will need to stay at home before going back to class, how schools are accommodating for these quarantined students, and what schools may consider before deciding to shift a school to all-virtual learning.

East Allen County Schools

According to EACS’ Return to School plan, students who are quarantined may be able to participate with their class from home. Otherwise, work will be provided through Canvas, the district’s learning management system, for missing instruction.

Students and staff are fully vaccinated do not need to quarantine as long as they are symptom-free, but they will need to monitor for symptoms up to seven days. Unvaccinated students and staff have two options to come back to class.

  • Option 1: A person must stay home for 10 days and return to school on day 11 if they are symptom-free. From days 11-14, a mask must be worn
  • Option 2: A person may come back on day eight if they receive a negative PCR COVID test between days five to seven. A mask must be worn until after day 14.

A spokesperson for EACS said there is not a threshold of COVID-19 cases or close contacts that would force a school(s) to pivot to e-learning.

Fort Wayne Community Schools

The biggest difference compared to last year is the time needed to quarantine after getting exposed to someone who tests positive for COVID-19. Last year, a student or staff member would need to wait at least 14 days before going back to class. That 14-day requirement has shrunk to 10.

If an exposed student is fully vaccinated and shows no symptoms, they do not need to quarantine.

Students who do need to stay home will access their school’s learning management system, Schoology, for daily assignments. Krista Stockman, the FWCS public information officer, urges students in quarantine to stay in contact with teachers.

“When your child is quarantined, please make sure they are staying on top of their work and communicating with their teachers so they do not fall behind,” Stockman said.

Teachers will also hold office hours for students to ask questions and get feedback.

Northwest Allen County Schools

According to the NACS COVID mitigation plan, an unvaccinated student must isolate at home for at least 10 days if they test positive for COVID-19.

If considered a close-contact, vaccinated students do not need to quarantine as long as they do not feel symptoms.

A spokesperson for NACS clarified that a school could switch to all-virtual learning if there is not enough staff to cover onsite learning.

“We want to keep as many students onsite and in the classroom as possible,” said Lizette Downey, the chief communications officer for NACS. “The more students and staff who choose to wear a mask indoors when social distancing is not feasible, the better the odds are of avoiding remote learning.”

If a student does need to quarantine, they can check Canvas, the school’s learning management system, for assignments and videos.

Southwest Allen County Schools

Students who need to quarantine have two options on when they can return to school. The diagram below describes the 7-day and 10-day quarantine options:

While out of school, a SACS spokesperson says the district has procedures in place to ensure students do not fall behind. They also said the district does not have a threshold on how many quarantined students it would take for a school to shift to virtual learning.

“We assess each school individually and continue to monitor positive cases and quarantine numbers throughout the district,” said Stacey Fleming, the SACS director of district communications.

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