SACS returning to original ‘Return to the Classroom’ plan

Local News

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) – In a letter sent to families, Southwest Allen County Schools (SACS) has announced that it is returning to its original Return to the Classroom plan from July 2021, with policies and procedural changes communicated when changes occur.

In the original plan, parents are asked to screen their child for COVID-19 symptoms daily:

  • Fever of 100.4 or greater
  • Sore Throat
  • Couch/shortness of breath
  • Diarrhea, nausea/vomiting
  • Muscle/body aches or fatigue
  • Headache
  • Loss of taste or smell

If a child is sick/absent, they will have access to the classroom curriculum via daily Canvas posts.

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.

Visitors:

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.

Transportation:

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.

The change in guidelines comes just days after the school board voted on a new quarantine policy but questioned its legality.

“Masks have been required on all buses per a federal order. Because students are masked on our buses, SACS will no longer need to quarantine close contact exposures on our buses, however, we will continue to contact trace,” the letter said.

Beginning Thursday, parents of students considered a close contact will be sent via email/text. These students will not need to quarantine, however, they will need to monitor for symptoms.

Superintendent Park Ginder said that the district’s Food Service Department has recently been experiencing product shortages and limited availability of many products from our vendors. Due to this, Ginder said the school has been working to find suitable replacements, but published menus may change on a day-to-day basis, with little available lead time.

The letter also addressed a bus driver shortage that has led to delayed or canceled routes. He said the district is continuing to actively recruit and train new drivers.

SACS is also trying to recruit new substitute teachers, as it has half as many short or long term substitutes as it did two years ago.

Ginder concluded with the following message to families:

Lastly, I would like to share my appreciation to our community for your ongoing support and trust. While these words may sound like nothing more than buzz words, I can assure you they are not. As Superintendent of this district since late June, I have had the opportunity to expand my relationships as the principal at Homestead to now include the entire SACS community. I have learned a great deal. It is clear SACS is home to dedicated staff, passionate teachers, phenomenal students and a generous community that values and supports education. In the days ahead, we must continue to work together and respect one another even when we don’t agree. Together, we will continue to do great things!

Superintendent Park Ginder

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