HAMILTON COUNTY — Health leaders in Hamilton County are keeping a close eye on the number of COVID-19 cases in the zero to 19 age group.
“In terms of percentage of new positives, at least in Hamilton County, it’s not that way in any other place in the state I don’t think, zero to 19 are going back up for us,” Tammy Sander, Hamilton County Health Department spokeswoman, said.
According to the Indiana State Department of Health, the zero to 19 age group accounts for 19% of COVID-19 cases in Hamilton County.
Sander said this is why they are recommitting and buckling down on the “Show Some C.L.A.S.S. – Keep Kids in School” campaign.
The campaign is a partnership between the health department and high school seniors at eight different Hamilton County schools. It started when students were preparing to head back to class in August.
Sander says over the summer the health department did a survey to find out who was wearing masks and who was not. The research showed the largest group not wearing masks were women ages 40-49.
“We started to think who is a woman between 40 and 49? She probably has school-age children,” Sander said. "If they have not been modeling the behavior and social distancing and masking all summer, how are they going to do when you put them back in the classrooms?”
The “Show Some C.L.A.S.S.” campaign aims to educate kids in the classroom on wearing masks, social distancing, and staying home.
“We look at these numbers all the time," Sander said. “Transmission is not happening in the school building; it is happening outside of the school building. That is why this campaign is important we want to make those habits; habits they take home and they do outside of the school building.”
Westfield High School senior Sarah Weglarz is part of the task force.
“This mission is more personal to me,” Weglarz said. “The reason for that is because my mom was diagnosed with lupus which is an autoimmune condition when I was a sophomore in high school.”
As they recommit to the campaign, students have changed the C.L.A.S.S. acronym.
C - COMMIT TO SELF CARE. Take time to check on your physical and mental health. Teens often underestimate the importance of a good diet, exercise, and sleep and the potential effect that may have on their mental health.
L - LEARN ABOUT THE VACCINE. Pediatric clinical trials will start soon on the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines. Teens are encouraged to talk to their parents and healthcare providers.
A - AVOID IN-HOME GATHERINGS. Private parties and in-home gatherings are the leading cause of transmission. Visit with people outside your immediate family in public spaces.
S - SOCIAL DISTANCE AND MASK UP. Combined with hand washing, these two habits are the best protection teens have from the COVID-19 virus at the current moment.
S - STAY HOME. Stay home if you are sick, have been a close contact to someone with COVID-19, or are waiting for the results of a COVID-19 test.
"The new year offers new hope, but also pandemic fatigue," Jake Richardson, a Westfield High School senior said. "We want our student body to take time for themselves and know it's ok to not be ok. And although some of us are still too young to receive the vaccine, it's certainly not too early to start thinking about it."