Indiana Health Department Changes Close Contact Guidelines for Schools
Indiana Governor Eric Holcomb held is weekly virtual press conference on Facebook Wednesday afternoon, providing an update on the number of vaccines that have been given to Hoosiers across the state, as well as announcing a change to guidelines for schools when it comes to close contacts and student quarantine.
As she does each week after the Governor's opening remarks, Dr. Kristina Box, Commissioner of the Indiana Department of Health, spoke about the state's current case numbers, and cited data that shows the spread of the virus is "rare when everyone is masked." She went on to note that same data says even schools with smaller classrooms where students can only be distanced by three feet have not seen an increase in cases, and the 14-day quarantine policy has put "an ongoing burden on schools, students, and families."
Based off this data, the new guidelines, which go in effect on Monday (February 8th, 2021), state that students will no longer require quarantine or contact tracing if students and teachers remain 3 feet apart and are wearing at all times in the classroom.
This guideline does not apply to students who were exposed during lunch period, athletic practices or games, band or choir practices and performances, or if teachers and students had removed their masks in the classroom.
The Department of Health also adjusted the quarantine guidelines for students who are exposed and considered close contacts, saying a 14-day quarantine is still the best option, however students may return after 10 days if they never showed symptoms and wear a mask at all times upon returning to the school building. They could also return as early as seven days if a nasal swab test done on day five, six, or seven comes back negative, or if a rapid test comes back negative on day eight.
Dr, Box also announced the state will be sending one million KN95 masks to schools, as well as 600,000 additional masks for children in kindergarten to 6th grade, and hand sanitizer.
You can watch the Governor's complete press conference in the video below.
[Source: Governor Eric Holcomb on Facebook]