Salem to Require Masks Upon Return to School Sept. 7

Salem to Require Masks Upon Return to School Sept. 7


This afternoon, Salem School Corporatin’s administration released information that would require all students to wear masks when they return to school on Sept. 7. 

All three schools have been at home doing virtual classes due to the high amount of absenteeism due to contact tracing putting almost 30 percent of the students into quarantine at home. 

Students return to school next week for Salem and West Washington Schools. East Washington Elementary School went to virtual mode earlier this week and is expected to return to in-person class next Tuesday. 

At Salem’s special board meeting Monday evening, the board stopped short of voting for a mask mandate but said to look for it.

Gov. Eric Holcomb’s executive order that was released on Wednesday afternoon likely helped push that forward. 

The Indiana Department of Health has issued modified quarantine provisions for Indiana schools and daycares that will limit quarantines if students are wearing masks. 

As one parent said at the board’s meeting Monday night, “If masks keep the kids in school, then vote them in now. Right now.”

A list of updated quarantine guidance and procedures was released this afternoon for Salem Community Schools.. 

“The goal of Salem Community Schools and the SCS Board is to provide a safe, in-person learning environment for all students,” the document read. 

“In order to minimize the number of students being quarantined from school due to “close contact” with someone identified as a positive COVID-19, SCS will utilize the following guidelines–all individuals in the school are required to wear a mask,” it read. 

“In addition to those guidelines, SCS will also implement the mitigation strategies listed below:

Identification of close contacts and quarantining.

A close contact is designated as anyone who has been within three feet of a COVID-19 person for at least 15 minutes during a 24-hour period.

Any individual who is a close contact will be notified by the school.

Executive Order 21-24 signed by Governor Holcomb states schools that have mask requirements will not have to quarantine students if the students are wearing a mask properly and consistently throughout the day–this does not pertain to extra curricular activities.

An individual who does have to quarantine could return in 7 days with a negative test by a provider (doctor or clinic) between days 5-7.


Additional Mitigation Measures
Additional measures will be put in place by the board – detailing three steps to keep students in school in four areas — on the bus, in class, at lunch and with visitors at the schools. 
On the bus, as has been the practice since the start of school, students are required to wear a mask. Now a seating chart will be implemented and students in households will be grouped together when possible. 
At lunch, students will have a seating chart, social distance and wear masks when not eating. 
In the classroom, there will also be a seating chart, social distancing and masks. 
Visitors at each school building will be allowed in and approved by the building administrator, visitors will have their location recorded for contact tracing and must wear masks. 

Otherwise, outside the classroom or in those where masks aren’t being worn (and while at lunch while eating) the previous quarantine guidance still applies – and  close contact will result in a 14 day quarantine, or as little as seven days, with a negative test.

Still, Gov. Holcomb will not – and likely will never – reimpose a statewide mask mandate in schools. That’s a decision, he said, he’s leaving to local officials.

“Fully support it, understand it,” Holcomb said. “It’s regrettable that so many of our kids are out of the classroom on any given one day.”

The number of Hoosiers under age 18 who tested positive for COVID-19 increased more than 600 percent from July to August.

Fully vaccinated

An individual is considered fully vaccinated two weeks after receiving the required dosage of the vaccine.

The Johnson and Johnson vaccine is one dose and the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines are two doses.

If an individual is in close contact with a positive case and the individual has been fully vaccinated, the individual will need to show his/her vaccination card in order to not have to quarantine. 

There is a Pfizer vaccination clinic at Bradie M. Shrum elementary school parking lot on Friday, Sept. 3 from 1-4pm. 

This will be the Pfizer COVID vaccine only.  This is for people 12 and up. A parent or guardian MUST be present to give consent.
It is not known when a second dose clinic will be scheduled.