All Washington County students are moving to online learning for the foreseeable future after a new mandate from the county health officer.

According to the Washington County Health Department, Health Officer Dr. Jeff Morgan has ordered that all students move to online learning beginning Wednesday, Dec. 2.

The health department notified local schools of advance information from the Indiana State Department of Health that the county will be listed as “Red” when the state updates its Covid-19 map on Wednesday. 

Washington County has had 432 cases of Covid-19 in November for a total of 865 cases overall. There have been seven Covid-19 related deaths – four of which came in November. 

The state has a 7-day positivity rate of 11 percent. Washington County’s 7-day positivity rate (as of this morning) was 14.7 percent.

Gov. Eric Holcomb signed an executive order today extending Indiana’s public health emergency due to the COVID-19 pandemic until at least Dec. 31.

Morgan instructed in a letter two weeks ago that he would close schools to in-person education if Washington County turned “Red.” Read original letter – morgan 

A new email came at 8:44a Tuesday morning to local administrators and reads:

“We have received notice from the State that we are going “red” starting tomorrow morning 12/2.   Dr. Morgan has stated that all schools, all grade levels will go to virtual learning starting tomorrow.  At this time, sport[s] teams can still come to practice, and parents/guardians and siblings can still attend the scheduled games.  If this changes, I will notify you all immediately.  We will remain in the “red” for at least 2 weeks before we could possibly return to “orange” or lower.”

Morgan issued a letter notice two weeks ago that moved middle and high school students at all three schools to hybrid and virtual learning. 

After Thanksgiving Break, Eastern, Salem and West Washington returned with elementary students going to school in-person and middle and high school students attending some days with other days at home. 

 According to Salem Schools Superintendent Jon Acton, “Dr. Morgan has granted some flexibility to allow high school and middle school athletics to continue during this time using attendance and safety guidelines previously established.”

Acton said while Washington County is under a “Red” classification, the walking track would be closed. 

He said there would be an update on Friday, Dec. 4 for the pickup and delivery of student meals. 

East Washington Schools Superintendent Dennis Stockdale said school buses would begin meal delivery service to students on Monday, Dec. 7 and continue through Friday, Dec. 18. 

“This service is available for any child under the age of 18,” he said. 

A form will be posted online (WSLM will update this story with the link here). The form should be submitted by Friday, Dec. 4 at noon in order to receive meals during this period. 

No additional information has been released from West Washington at the time of this update.