Uptick in COVID Causes Changes in DSC Guidelines

CDC and School Corporation Release Differing Guidelines

Gracelyn Perrine, Opinions Editor

At this point, COVID-19 is not something new, nor a new experience for any. The United States has now been dealing with this virus for roughly two years, and the regulations are ever changing. As time has elapsed, the spread of positive cases has fluctuated; however, Indiana is currently hitting all time high numbers, never seen before. Here, the New York Times compiled statistics to show the rising numbers on a graph that is easier to read. As you can see, Indiana alone has reached a peak of 15,013 cases in one day, January 12th. 

These numbers are important because they apply to how different school districts respond and follow protocol. While the face mask requirement has stayed afloat, some differences have been made regarding close contacts, quarantines, and vaccination status. Quarantines still remain for unvaccinated students; however, the period in which you must quarantine has changed and the application of masks has also. Per the Duneland School Corporation protocol summary, unvaccinated individuals, if contact traced, must stay home for only 5 days without a COVID test. However, there are exceptions. If both parties in the contact tracing system were wearing masks, then both may come back to school the next day regardless of vaccination status. It is also important to note that a student, even after testing positive, may come back to school 5 days after their first symptoms occurred. 

When it comes to vaccination status, there lies differences between the definition of a fully vaccinated individual according to Duneland School Corporation and then the CDC. CDC states that a fully vaccinated individual has not only their full dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, but also a booster. However, the school corporation defines a fully vaccinated individual as having just the vaccine, without a booster. 

Recent information has also come forward regarding Duneland numbers. Within one week, there were 267 recorded cases amongst the Duneland School Corporation. What truly is mind boggling is that this number, in one week, matches the number of Duneland cases from August 5th through November 29th. The upsurge of active cases has been astronomical in this one week and now mirrors a period spanning months of time. 

This has some students and teachers feeling uneasy, as more and more students are getting sent home everyday. This has become a concern as COVID-19 is spreading rampantly, and many students are missing out on classes and extracurricular activities due to this spread. Some believe that remote learning should become a reality, as the health anxiety that comes with COVID has affected many. However, the school board has said that they have the best interest of students regarding grades and past experiences with remote learning, ultimately keeping students in-person. 

Time will only tell how the Duneland Schools and neighboring corporations will be affected by their winter bout with COVID. Traditionally speaking, sickness tends to spread more easily during cold-weather months, but we will just have to hope for the best. Stay safe Duneland.