BCSC administrators holding off on any mask mandate changes

Bartholomew Consolidated School administrators are not ready to make a recommendation to relax the mask mandates in local schools. Since the start of the school year there have been nearly 900 positive test cases for COVID-19 and more than 600 students out of class during a single week.

Dr. Jim Roberts, BCSC’s superintendent, told the school board this week that with the continuing Indiana state of emergency, with the county’s “red” COVID-19 spread status and the still high number of students testing positive for the disease, that he is not ready to make a recommendation on ending the mask mandates.

As of this week’s school board meeting, there had been 382 positive test cases in the second quarter of the school year. That is on top of 514 positive cases in the first quarter. The highest week for positive cases was the week after fall break, Nov. 27th through Dec. 3rd.

Roberts said that based on state guidelines, if students are masked, the school district does not have to send children home who have had close contacts with those infected. Which means that despite the high numbers of infections, the district has been able to keep more children in class during the second quarter.

He said he cannot make a recommendation on masks until the district knows how that will affect the close-contact situation. He said if the county spread drops to an orange or even yellow level, without the state allowing close contact students to remain in school, then wearing a mask remains the minimum to keep them in class.

He said having children in class in person is the best for the students and for their families.

School board member Todd Grimes said that he believes the district should begin coming up with its own guidelines on when to end the mask mandates.