COVID, tracing on the radar of local school boards | Schools

Two school boards in Allen County are set to tackle COVID-19 next week — and it looks like ending contact tracing is on the table for at least one district.

Of the agendas released Thursday, schools in East Allen County provided the most detail. An item titled “revised return to school plan regarding removal of current quarantine and contact tracing protocol” is tagged for discussion/action at the Tuesday 6:30 p.m. meeting.

District spokeswoman Tamyra Kelly could not provide details.

“I know they will discuss this subject but I cannot say… what they will decide,” she said by email.

The EACS is considering the matter the day before the end of contact tracing and the resulting quarantines. SACS officials voted unanimously last week to halt the practice, but delayed implementation to give the recent spike in COVID-19 cases time to ebb.

It’s unclear whether Northwest Allen County schools will consider similar action at 6 p.m. Monday. Its board agenda says a “resolution regarding COVID-19” is planned, and spokeswoman Lizette Downey could not provide additional information.

The Indiana Department of Education addressed contact tracing in its January 21 weekly bulletin. He said the state health department is looking to reduce the burden on schools with mask requirements.

Masks are not mandatory at EACS, NACS or SACS.

“Schools should continue to notify parents of a positive case in the classroom and reinforce mitigation strategies at school and at home,” the bulletin said.

Those requiring masks no longer need to report close contact information to the Indiana Department of Health, the bulletin states, but “schools that do not have a mask requirement in place should continue to report both positive cases and close contacts, as well as all associated fields, to the IDOH K-12 portal.

These and other quarantine guidelines are summarized for schools in Health Department documents dated Jan. 28.

The NACS will meet in the Boardroom, accessible through Door 3 at 13119 Coldwater Road, Fort Wayne. EACS will meet at the Administration Building, 1240 Indiana 930 East, New Haven. Both forums offer options for watching online. Visit www.nacs.k12.in.us or www.eacs.k12.in.us for links.

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