INDIANAPOLIS — Educators and administrators at the Metropolitan School District of Wayne Township are learning to adapt now that masks in schools are now optional, according to the Indiana Department of Health's newest COVID-19 guidance.
McClelland Elementary School sixth grade English teacher Michelle Hine said she's now trying to balance giving kids a quality education and making sure they're accustomed to the ever-changing recommendations.
"We started the morning off bright and early with a community circle talking about, 'It's okay, whatever the decision your family made for you or whatever you are making for yourself, know that's okay. That's okay that you are in a mask, it’s okay if you are not in a mask, everyone situations different,'" Hine said.
MSD Wayne Township Superintendent Jeff Butts said the change in guidance has been a challenge.
“This has given some people some whiplash because of the significant change that has occurred so quickly,” Butts said.
IDOH's new guidance states that schools are no longer required to report positive COVID-19 cases, but officials say Wayne Township school nurses will still report them to the Marion County Public Health Department.
“What I do know is that we have not seen significant spread in our schoolhouses because of the protocols we’ve had in place — but I also see out in the community that masks are optional for quite some time,” Dr. Butts added.
The new guidance also removes the need for contact tracing and quarantines, in some situations.
“This gives us a greater opportunity to have our students in class working with our teachers in person,” Butts said.
Hine said this will come as a relief for some.
“In my opinion parents have erred on the side of caution and maybe make others sick which has been a relief for me as a teacher but also a relief for other families,” Hine concluded.