WHEATFIELD — After Gov. Holcomb’s announcement Wednesday regarding the continuation of the state’s reopening status, the Kankakee Valley School Corporation sent out a letter to parents and guardians regarding new guidance received from the Indiana Dept. of Health.
With the mask mandate extended for another month, the schools will continue to require them for both students and staff.
On Monday, two new cases were reported, one at DeMotte Elementary, and one at the middle school. Superintendent Don Street said the schools were notified before the start of school, and school nurse Molly Deardorff began the task of contact tracing immediately. There were 19 individuals believed to be close contacts for both cases and are quarantined.
He said the distance learning seems to be going well. Teachers at the middle and high schools are monitoring the process. “This is new for everybody,” he said. “We are continuing to learn as are the students.”
New guidance issued defines close contacts for those who may have been exposed to the virus. The guidance states a person is considered a close contact if he/she was within 6 feet of a positive person for more than 15 minutes total in a day; physical contact with the person tested positive; direct contact with the respiratory secretions of the person and lives with or stayed overnight for at least one night in a household with a positive person.
The criteria apply whether a person wore a face mask or covering, or was behind a physical barrier such as a face shield, plastic or plexiglas barriers.
If a student or anyone working at the schools does come in close contact with someone who is positive, they must quarantine for 14 days from the date of the last exposure before returning to school. A symptomatic student or staff member and anyone living in their household should quarantine while waiting for test results. The letter states if a person is symptomatic and does not get tested for COVID-19, then the household members are still considered close contacts and should quarantine.
A rumor spreading that students were sent home from the high school because the masks made them sick are false, he said. Many teachers are taking their students outside to get a mask break, and they can take them off at lunch. No student has been sent home due to wearing masks. Students are sent home if they display any of the symptoms of COVID-19, which can mimic allergy symptoms or other illnesses.
Signs to look for each day are a temperature of 100.4° or higher, sore throat, new uncontrolled cough that causes difficulty breathing, diarrhea, vomiting or abdominal pain, new onset of severe headache, especially with fever and loss of taste or smell.
Parents are asked to check their children everyday before sending them to school.