Hours before the first day of school began, an Indiana junior high had its first confirmed case of coronavirus.
According to NBC5, a student at Greenfield Central Junior High School tested for the virus earlier this week, but his/her results weren't known until Thursday. Superintendent Harold Olin said the Hancock County Health Department notified the school about the infection, and that the student had only attended in-person classes for part of the day. IndyStar reports families of students who spent more than 15 minutes within six feet of the infected child were made aware of the case later that night.
Those who were in close proximity of the student are reportedly required to quarantine for 14 days; any student or staff member who tests positive for COVID-19 are prohibited from returning to campus until 72 days after symptoms stop showing. Students and staff members who did not have close contact with the infected child will resume in-person classes as planned.
"We understand that this information will cause concern for some of you," Olin said in a statement to Fox59. "It was very evident today that nearly all of our families and students were prepared to properly follow the safety protocols we have established. We thank you for your continued cooperation with our request for daily self-screening. Adhering to these protocols is essential for maintaining a safe environment for all students and staff ... Our job becomes exponentially more difficult when students come to school without meeting the expectations of the self screening tool we’ve asked families to complete each day. This is a bump in the road in our reentry process we were not counting on, but we have protocols in place for positive cases. We have initiated them."
Olin also noted that families had the option to continue remote learning, but only 15 percent of the student body chose to stay at home.
This week, schools across the country began reopening their campuses for the first time since the pandemic was declared back in March. Many health experts have warned against resuming in-person classes, as COVID-19 cases continue to rise within the country. However, President Donald Trump and members of his administration pushed for schools reopening, and even threatened to penalize districts that refused to do so.