The Vigo County School Corporation is announcing the final step in a metered plan to return in-person/traditional students to the classroom five days per week. On Monday, October 19 all in-person/traditional high school students will return to a five-day-per-week schedule.

The plan was developed with the input of the COVID-19 Task Force and the Vigo County Teachers Association, and is based on limited spread within our school buildings due to mitigation procedures such as required masking, encouraged distancing, and enhanced sanitizing. We will continue to mask at all times, distance as much as possible, and sanitize surfaces throughout the day, as well as guide students and staff to wash their hands and use hand sanitizer throughout the building. We will continue to offer fully-at-home options for all students who need them.

While the number of our school corporation’s positive cases continues to impress our healthcare leaders, numbers are rising in Vigo County. A member of our staff visits the health department every day, and their contact tracing reveals that most community cases are coming from large social gatherings and households. Yesterday, the health department publicly noted that while numbers are growing in Vigo County, our schools are holding steady. Yesterday, we reported that we have 4 active cases among staff and students at the high school level and only 3 at the middle school level. Yesterday, we also announced that out of nearly 13,000 in-person staff and students, we have 17 active cases, and 17 of our 27 brick and mortar schools reported no active cases.

While our numbers have been better than our community’s, our families and school staff are the reason for our success. Please continue to stay home if you experience symptoms and remember that many attendance policies are suspended this year. If your child or someone your child shares a home with is awaiting the results of a test–other than routine testing required by some employers–please stay home. Please continue to act responsibly outside of our schools, and we will continue to enforce protocols such as masking, maximizing our distance, and enhanced sanitation. A link to our return-to-school guidelines can be found at the end of this e-mail.

As a product of this decision, we join all but one Conference Indiana high school and all but one of the Western Indiana Conference high schools (Edgewood is attending 4 days per week starting Monday) in attending 5 days per week.

Our athletics will continue with their restrictions, including reduced capacities. Athletic teams, despite the contact nature of some sports, have experienced very few cases since they started in July. This gives us hope.

We will now be monitoring COVID-19 on a school-by-school basis. If our educational model seems to be making an impact on our community’s health, we will pull back. We are in constant contact with our community’s health care leaders who are treating COVID-19 patients every day. We take their advice to heart, and right now, they support a return to a five-day-per-week schedule. We have limited spread in our schools due to contact tracing and quarantining students who may have been at risk, and our ability to keep up with these efforts will tell us if we can stay in school full time.

Please consider using bus transportation more. Our buses are not carrying many students at this time and our returning elementary schools are reporting long lines at pick-up and drop-off. If you have not been using bus transportation, please call the transportation office at 812-462-4243 as your pick-up/drop-off times may have been adjusted since the beginning of the year.

Our athletic programs will continue with their safety protocols and reduced capacities. The limited number of cases in our athletic teams–who have been fully competing and practicing since this summer–gives us confidence in returning our students to a full schedule.

There is an early release day on Tuesday, October 20. Elementary students will dismiss at 1:45, and middle/high school students will dismiss at 2:30.