BEECH GROVE — Two school districts in central Indiana have already had to quarantine dozens of students just weeks into school being back in session because of students testing positive for COVID-19.
11 students at Anderson Community Schools have tested positive. One staff member and 47 students are now in quarantine as a result. Four students in Beech Grove City Schools have tested positive, prompting 75 students to now quarantine.
“You can’t unfortunately leave it up to people because nowadays people don’t care about other people,” said Chelsea Polen, a Beech Grove parent. “They only care about themselves.”
In both Anderson Community Schools and Beech Grove City Schools, masks are recommended but optional for students to wear in school.
Over the weekend, Beech Grove was notified that three high school and one middle school student tested positive for COVID-19. They are all apart of one family, but it resulted in 89 students being identified as close contacts.
The students who are vaccinated, however, did not need to quarantine, according to district policy. 14 of the 89 fell under that category who are vaccinated and therefore did not have to quarantine.
“It just goes to show that literally one person can spread it to a vast amount of people,” Polen said.
Polen's children are under 12, and are not yet able to get vaccinated.
“Masks. They need to be mandatory regardless,” Polen said. “There’s a large chunk of children like mine who can’t be vaccinated. We are having to delay preschool now for them because they can’t be vaccinated and they don’t have the best immune systems unfortunately. They’re twins. They were born very small. We have to do everything we can to keep them safe and I feel like the school system isn’t doing that. They’re not doing enough.”
Beech Grove Superintendent, Dr. Laura Hammack, conducted a Facebook live video on Monday and admitted that families have been requesting students to wear masks in order to stop the spread.
"I get it; I totally get your perspective and just know that that is always on the table for us when we are having our conversations,” Hammack said. “But for today, we believe that our plan is the right plan and we are willing in the future to make a change that plan should our data inform something different.”
“If we are sending kids back to school, at least masks for everybody, separate desks, do what you were doing last year within school children. That’s all I’m asking,” Polen said.