Facebook Twitter

Indiana lifts quarantine guideline for schools that require masks

Several young elementary students are social distanced in a school gymnasium.

Indiana Department of Health allows schools with universal mask requirements to skip quarantining close contacts of positive cases.

Allison Shelley for American Education: Images of Teachers and Students in Action

New guidance issued Wednesday by the Indiana Department of Health allows schools with universal mask requirements to skip quarantining close contacts of positive cases. 

Close contacts — defined as anyone who was within 3 feet of a COVID-positive person for greater than 15 minutes — will instead be asked to self-monitor for symptoms. They will be allowed to remain in school unless they develop symptoms. 

The quarantine exception applies only to schools that enforce masking for students and staff. In schools without mask requirements for all, the state will require close contacts to quarantine after an exposure, unless they are fully vaccinated and asymptomatic.

Indiana recommends testing for all close contacts and requires schools to trace contacts of a positive case by notifying the local health department as well as parents, teachers, and staff. 

The new exception to quarantine applies only to the classroom setting and does not apply to COVID-19 exposures during extracurricular activities and athletics, according to the department. 

States like Ohio and Utah put similar policies in place last school year in hopes of reducing the disruption of placing many students in quarantine. 

The announcement comes after the state reported more than 6,100 cases in schools last week and as districts adjust their own requirements related to masking and quarantining. On Monday, Indianapolis Public Schools announced a new protocol that would allow those who have recently recovered from COVID to skip quarantine after an exposure, if they remain asymptomatic.

IPS Superintendent Aleesia Johnson said Monday that 600 students and staff in the district have been quarantined since school began.

The Indiana Department of Health does not keep a total number of students who have had to quarantine since the beginning of the school year, describing such data as fluid. 

Instead, the tally of positive cases accurately reflects the current level of transmission in schools, a department representative said. 

 

The Latest
Whether a student can play a sport, study advanced math, or sing in a choir varies widely by where they attend school, Indianapolis Public School officials said at the latest in a series of meetings that raise the possibility of closing some schools.
As Indiana limits virtual learning, some districts will adjust how they handle school on snow days and on teacher training days.
Twin Lakes High School teacher Kim Rosenbaum started a “women in welding” class for female teachers, counselors, and administrators.
Education advocates say the proposed middle school civics standards need more specificity, especially in regards to the history of Black Americans and other people of color.
Indiana voters approved seven local property tax increases to send more money to schools, but voted down increases for school construction..
A political newcomer, Andrea Hunley defeated four other Democrats and now goes on to face Republican Evan Shearin in the November general election.