An Indiana school district announced a new mask requirement after 55 positive COVID-19 cases among students and staff were recorded in the first nine days of the academic year, causing over 800 people to be quarantined due to close contact.
Crown Point Community School Corporation jumped from five new COVID cases the week of Aug. 18 to 50 new cases last week, according to data from the school district.
The new cases recorded two weeks prior sent 29 students and staff into a quarantine, then 707 more last week. This week, the school district has already asked 146 students to isolate.
Because classroom settings only allow for three feet of social distancing as opposed to the six feet needed for masks to be considered optional, the district said face coverings will be required during school hours starting Wednesday.
Get Chicago local news, weather forecasts, sports and entertainment stories to your inbox. Sign up for NBC Chicago newsletters.
The new guidance allows for the district to follow additional protocols for those in quarantine to return to school earlier. Those who are unvaccinated showing no symptoms of COVID can:
- Provide a negative PCR COVID test result. The test must occur after day five and produce a negative result for a return on day eight.
- Return to school without a negative test result on day 11.
"We committed to watching our school data to determine policy changes throughout the year. That data shows that wearing masks would significantly lower our number of quarantines. Using the return procedures above can help shorten the length of quarantines. We must do what we can to keep our students in class."
In all, Crown Point Community School Corporation has 9,821 students and staff stretching over a portion of northwest Indiana, including the following schools:
- Crown Point High School
- Colonel John Wheeler Middle School
- Taft Middle School
- Eisenhower Elementary
- Lake Street Elementary
- MacArthur Elementary
- Solon Robinson Elementary
- Timothy Ball Elementary
- Winfield Elementary
- Crown Point Community School Corporation Learning Center
- Central Office and SSC Departments