County's public schools reinstate mask mandate

By Herald Staff

School districts in Dubois County are reinstating a mask mandate for all students and staff beginning Tuesday.

This action follows Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb's recent executive order.

The county's four public school districts — Greater Jasper, Southwest Dubois, Southeast Dubois and Northeast Dubois — shared a joint statement Friday, outlining the changes.

"After consultation with legal counsel, we have been advised that we are required to comply," the districts said of the governor's executive order. "Our failure to do so creates concern for student safety, legal liability and reduced funding. Any of these issues place our school districts in a concerning predicament"

The changes are:

• All students, staff and visitors in classroom settings and on the bus will be required to wear a face covering. This does not apply to lunch, choir, band or extra-curricular activities. Individuals who are contact traced will not quarantine, but will self-monitor for symptoms when both parties are wearing a mask. This will keep students in school and prevent virtual learning.

• Exposures in outdoor settings during the day do not need to be contact traced or quarantined, such as recess, physical education, outdoor learning labs, etc.

• Exposures during indoor activities where masks cannot be worn, such as lunch, choir and band, will require contact tracing within 6 feet for 15 minutes and quarantine.

• Students exposed to COVID-19 outside of school will still be required to comply with quarantine time periods and may return: On day 11 with no testing or on day eight with a negative COVID test given on day five, six or seven. Students may continue to learn virtually during this time.

• Exceptions to quarantine include: proof of vaccination or proof of COVID within the last 90 days

"We recognize that these changes will result in a wide array of opinion," the school districts said. "The current Executive Order is set to expire at 11:59 p.m. on September 30, 2021. It is our hope that at that time, local control will be reinstated and we will be afforded the opportunity to use our internal data to drive our decisions. Ultimately, our priority is the safety of our students, as well as a legal obligation to comply with Indiana statute and the Executive Orders of the Governor."

More on