Positive virus test temporary closes Indiana school

By CASEY SMITH
Associated Press / Report for America 

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — A central Indiana school has shut down two days after opening after at least one staffer tested positive for COVID-19, while other districts in the state also are reporting positive tests among students and employees.

Elwood Junior Senior High School is temporarily closing this week, Superintendent Joe Brown said. The district of roughly 1,500 students about 35 miles (56 kilometers) northeast of Indianapolis conducted coronavirus testing prior to school starting July 30 and “multiple staff” came back positive for the virus.

A staff member at the junior-senior high school and at least one other staff member in the district tested positive, Brown said. He declined to disclose exactly where or how many staff members across the district have tested positive.

Those with positive tests were not in close contact with students, Brown said, but they did have contact with other faculty and staff at the school. Those individuals are now quarantining. As a precaution, the district moved classes online this week for grades 7-12. In-person instruction is expected to return again Aug. 10.

The reopening plan was working, but the district saw “more positive cases from staff members than we anticipated,” Brown wrote in a letter to parents.

“We want to keep our buildings open during the pandemic,” Brown said. “However, the safety of students and staff remain our top priority.”

According to that plan, each school building in the district will be closed on Wednesdays throughout August for cleanings due to the coronavirus pandemic. On those days, instruction will be virtual. Athletic programs will continue.

Meanwhile, parents and caregivers of football players at an Indianapolis high school have been told to monitor their children after a player at Warren Central tested positive for the virus.

The Warren Township school district told those who had been in close contact with the student to quarantine for 14 days. Classes start Thursday at Warren Central, which has 3,677 students and 178 full-time teachers.

District students in grades 6-12 will participate in an in-person and virtual alternating day schedule, according to the district’s reopening plan. A completely virtual option is also offered.

Positive virus tests have been reported in other Indiana school districts.

LaPorte High School has suspended boys’ football, wrestling and tennis team activities due to a positive test in both the tennis and football program.

A New Palestine High School football player tested positive days before the school was set to open, Southern Hancock schools confirmed Saturday. Greenfield-Central schools confirmed Thursday night that a student tested positive for the virus on the first day of school.

The Avon school district said Thursday that it learned a high school staff member tested positive for COVID-19. That person had not been at the school during the week or in close contact with any employees or students, according to a district spokesperson.

In Central Indiana, more than a dozen other school districts are slated to reopen this week. Some will start the new academic year with only virtual classes, while the majority of others are still planning to offer students an in-person option.

 




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