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Parents react to new COVID-19 guidance for Indiana schools

"I do pause a little bit as we plan to keep our children masked."
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Posted at 8:07 PM, Feb 18, 2022
and last updated 2022-02-19 09:37:55-05

INDIANAPOLIS — Throughout the pandemic, students have had to deal with change after change.

The latest change, set to take effect Wednesday or sooner, means Indiana schools will no longer be required to contact trace or report positive cases to the Indiana Department of Health.

“I think everybody is ready for things to get back to normal, I do pause a little bit as we plan to keep our children masked,” said Jennifer Rubenstein, who has two children in Pike Township schools.

She says she is still going to have her children wear masks to schools despite the updated guidance.

MORE | Indiana University to make masks optional at all campuses

“Contact tracing itself is probably more important than you know some of the other things but I’m not a big fan of that because I would like to know where if my child does have it where he or she might have gotten it if it was actually from the class setting,” Rubinstein added.

Schools will also no longer need to quarantine students who are exposed to someone who tested positive for COVID-19, regardless of vaccination status or if the school requires masks.

Avon Avon Community School Corporation Superintendent Scott Wyndham said this was the right time to put new guidelines in place.

“Our data has shown a huge drop in COVID cases over the last two to three weeks. This seems really logical when you look specifically at Avon Schools data,” Wyndham said.

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But Micaela Johnson, a single mother of a boy who attends Garden City Elementary, said she is worried about her son's safety.

“Are we really protecting our kids from this? You know, if I get sick or if I am coughing, I can't go to work; but we are still sending our kids to school. Not all of them are vaccinated, not all of them are old enough to get vaccinated. My son is not. It’s just like, how am I supposed to protect my child?" Johnson said.

Dr. Christopher Belcher, infection prevention medical director at Ascension St. Vincent, says a lot of factors go into the decision.

"Cases are going down [and] vaccine is available for most of the school-age children who go there so they have an opportunity to get it," Dr. Belcher said. "It's still best to always be up to date on your vaccines, wear your mask, wash your hands [and] social distance."

For parents like Rubenstein, the safety of the children is the most important regardless of the new guidance.

“I think we still need to protect the children the children are in a really vulnerable state right now and if they decide to do this in which they have I still think masks should be a little bit of a priority and again it has to be up to the children parents,” Rubenstein said.

Perry Township Schools released the following statement:

The new guidance allows us to continue to keep students in school in a safe environment. Schools have done an outstanding job of tracking and dealing with the old protocols, but welcome the new guidance and less administrative work of reporting cases.