By Mark Spelbring
The second week of classes in the North Central Parke schools brought an explosion of COVID-19 challenges and that was top priority for the school board meeting August 18. All members were present along with several staff members, parents, and students. No changes were made to current policy, but there were a lot of questions about how policies that are set by the board and by health authorities at several levels, are being implemented. The board agreed to meet again Wednesday, August 25 to stay on top of the situation and consider any options.
That special meeting was shifted to Monday, August 23, and all five of the seven members present voted to approve “Student COVID Policy Updates” as presented by Superintendent Mike Schimpf. Board members Brandi Vandivier and Jim Wrightsman were not present. The new policy dramatically relaxes quarantine rules to allow students who have been in close contact to a person with a positive case to continue to attend school as long as they are free of symptoms.
At the original meeting August 18, Superintendent Mike Schimpf began by saying he was glad Nurse Audra Long was there and Long explained the contact tracing process. She said upon getting a positive report she checks seating charts and other information to see who was in close contact with the individual on buses, at lunch, in PE, and other activities, and she talks to parents. Long described quarantine rules for close contacts as being out 14 days, although if a student is vaccinated, they can return to school but must wear a mask and strictly maintain distance from others, including at lunch.
For the full article, see this week’s edition of the Parke County Sentinel.