CHURUBUSCO, Ind. (WANE) – Parents voiced their frustration at Monday night’s school board meeting over the decision to move classes online at Smith-Green Community Schools. Those who spoke expressed a desire to return to in-person learning, as students struggle to learn in a virtual setting.
In a video update released on Sunday, Superintendent Daniel Hile provided an update to the district’s COVID-19 cases. During the entire 2020 school year, the district reported only three positive tests in elementary school students. It has been a much different story this year. As of Friday, 27 elementary school students have tested positive. After conducting contract tracing, 187 students or 35% of the student body has been quarantined. The district is required to follow the Indiana Department of Health’s quarantine requirements. There is no mask mandate in place for the district.
At the Junior-Senior High School, there have been nine positive cases. After conducting contact tracing, 178 students or 26% of the student body has been quarantined.
Several staff members, including cafeteria workers, have also tested positive across both schools.
The district will remain virtual until Sept. 7. During this time of virtual learning, district management will be reviewing their plans and discussing the best path forward to prevent the spread of the virus. However, student activities, including sports, are allowed to continue.
This particular point was very frustrating for parents, as they argued the logic does not make sense to continue having student activities, but their students are not allowed into the classroom. Hile explains the thought process behind this decision.
“I know how much our children have sacrificed over the last year and a half through this pandemic…entire sports seasons were lost, show choir and other activities were completely disrupted,” Hile said. “And so right now, because of the proactive steps we took to move virtual ahead of where things getting too bad, and based on the level of spread we are not seeing in any of our activities, felt comfortable and felt it appropriate that we would allow the activities to continue while they can.”
Hile emphasized his desire to hold in-person classes, but the measure of going virtual right now is necessary to slow the spread of the virus. He encourages students to maintain contact with their teachers and principal when they are in need of support. He hopes this is only a one-time move to virtual learning.
For more information on the latest developments with the district, visit the website for Smith-Green Community Schools.