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State health commissioner says schools can reopen safely during pandemic

Posted at 8:17 PM, Aug 05, 2020

INDIANAPOLIS — As several school districts are already heading back to the classroom, some districts are already dealing with its first cases of COVID-19.

Some parents are concerned and not sure if they should send their kids back to school.

"I continue to believe that our schools can safely reopen by wearing masks, practicing social distancing, and handwashing," Indiana State Department of Health Commissioner Dr. Kristina Box said.

Searchable Database | Tracking COVID-19 at central Indiana Schools

She is standing by her belief that schools can re-open safely this school year, despite some schools reporting cases in one week.

It's up to school districts and local health departments to decide to close or stay open, but they should look at the number of COVID-19 cases and if the virus is spreading throughout the building, Box says.

Some lawmakers have called for a way to track COVID-19 cases in schools.

WRTV asked Box and Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb if they are considering a publicly releasing a dashboard to track cases in schools.

"If that could automatically come out and populate a dashboard, not with that individual's name, not with any personal information, but basically just that there's a positive case in this school, amongst that student, teacher or the staff," Box said.

"Making sure what is consumed is accurate data. We're already, folks are already expecting instant reporting on cases, and you hear one thing over here - we've got to verify it," Holcomb said.

State leaders say they are evaluating the legality of releasing this information.

The request for information on COVID-19 cases at schools was something the state was expecting, Box said. As schools reopened, the state was expecting to see more cases.