FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) – The Southwest Allen County Schools (SACS) board voted unanimously to approve the COVID-19 guidelines for the 2021-2022 school year including making masks optional beginning July 5 for all students and staff.
“Obviously, not everybody is going to be pleased with the plan, but we’re trying to do what’s best for our kids get them back in the building so we can give them the academic and emotional support they need and deserve,” said Park Ginder, the district’s superintendent. “It’s definitely a plan that will evolve we all hope that it evolves in a manner where COVID goes away.”
This announcement comes with an outline for protocol for the 2021-2022 school year, which all students will attend in-person school everyday. This excludes eSACS Virtual secondary students.
During the school year, normal school routines will be followed as much as possible, SACS said. Regular recess, art, music and PE classes will resume. Co-curricular and extra-curricular activities including athletics and performing arts will continue with guidance from the Indiana High School Athletic Association and the Indiana State School Music Association.
While in the building, students and staff will maintain social distancing to the greatest extent practicable, the district said. Enhanced cleaning protocols and disinfecting practices will continue. In addition, hand sanitizer will be available in classrooms and should be used to clean hands when entering and exiting a classroom.
During the school year, attendance recognitions that could encourage attending school when a student does not feel well have been eliminated for the 2021-2022 school year, SACS said.
Parents are required to ensure the daily health of the child. The district asks that parents screen for:
- Fever of 100.4 or greater
- Sore Throat
- Couch/shortness of breath
- Diarrhea, nausea/vomiting
- Muscle/body aches or fatigue
- Loss of taste or smell
Parents are asked to contact the school nurse with questions about illness, symptoms, specific concerns regarding a child’s medical care or to inform staff of chronic medical conditions.
If a child is sick/absent:
Students will have access to the classroom curriculum via daily Canvas posts.
SACS asks parents to follow school attendance reporting procedures if their student will be absent.
Close Contact Guidelines:
Vaccinated individuals identified as a close contact are not required to quarantine but must monitor for symptoms for 14 days past exposure. The district said proof of vaccination will be required.
If a person identified as a close contact and has a negative COVID-19 test, will need to quarantine for seven days. Individuals may return to school on day eight if they are symptom free and have a negative COVID-19 test, the district said. A rapid or PCR test must be performed no earlier than day five to seven of quarantine. Test results will need to be communicated to the student’s school nurse before returning to school. The district said continued enhanced precautions should be taken days eight to 14.
Anyone who has been identified as a close contact and has not received a COVID-19 test, will need to quarantine for 10 days. The district said individuals may return to school on day 11 if they are symptom-free. They will need to continue enhanced precautions on days 11-14.
The district said that with the seven day or 10 day quarantine options, individuals will be allowed to return to co-curricular or extra-curricular activities with enhanced precautions.
The district said visitors will be welcomed into buildings, but facemasks will be required unless proof of vaccination is presented.
Visitors will not be able to eat lunch with students at this time.
All individuals will be require to wear a mask on buses to and from school and events. Students will have one designated pickup/drop off location as well as an assigned seat that must be followed at all times. SACS said families/siblings will be seated together on the bus when possible.
The district said frequently touched surfaces will be cleaned and disinfected on the bus at the end of each route.
For more information on Southwest Allen County Schools, visit the district’s website.