FRANKLIN, Ind.– Several factors related to the increasing number of COVID-19 cases prompted Franklin Community Schools officials to delay the next phase of their plan to reopen school buildings.
“Our cases are going up,” said FCS Superintendent, Dr. David Clendening. “From Friday, we’ve had three more cases.”
“Over the past several weeks in Johnson County, our numbers are starting to go up for positivity rate,” Clendening continued. “Given that information, I wanted to just hit pause for two more weeks and have us start back on November 2nd.”
Franklin Community Schools was the only Johnson County district to start the school year on a hybrid schedule, with students dividing their learning between in-person classes and virtual e-learning. The district had planned to bring middle and high school students back into the buildings four days a week starting Oct. 19. However, that move has been pushed back to Nov. 2.
Clendening said the decision was also based on other factors, including how many students seem to be struggling with their work and staying engaged, as well as the district’s ability to find substitute bus drivers and teachers.
Clendening said he is also concerned about how fall break travel could impact the next couple weeks. Although Franklin’s fall break doesn’t start until Thursday, he said some families are already traveling since eLearning can be done from anywhere.
“We have a lot of parents and community out and going to different places, and I understand that,” Clendening said. “But we also know that there is that chance of getting the virus.”
Johnson County Health Department Director Betsy Swearingen said warnings about fall break travel are warranted right now.
“If you are awaiting results from a COVID test, you should be at home,” Swearingen said. “You should not be out traveling.”
Swearingen said recent contact tracing has revealed several cases of Hoosiers being directly affected by bad travel decisions.
“We have had people traveling that are awaiting testing results and have come back positive, therefore putting people that were within six feet of them in quarantine,” she said. “We’ve had people who have flown, knowing that they were positive. And we will find out and you won’t be allowed to fly and you won’t be allowed to come home.”