WAYNE TOWNSHIP – Some Indiana school districts are considering changes to their mask policies after the CDC issued new guidance this week recommending everyone in K-12 schools wear a mask, regardless of vaccination status.
Indiana officials have said the state will not issue any new COVID-19 restrictions or mask mandates for schools this fall, leaving districts to create their own rules.
The Indiana Department of Health has not issued any new recommendations for schools and is still reviewing the CDC’s new guidance, according to a spokesperson.
The CDC’s new mask guidance for schools comes as the fall semester is just getting underway for some students.
Now, parents and school leaders are trying to keep up with the changing COVID-19 guidance from officials.
“A little confusing, but you just stay on top of it and listen to what’s going on,” said Terry Bruner, whose grandchildren return to school this week.
“Interestingly enough, this is the third time we’ve changed in the last two weeks,” said Jeff Butts, Wayne Township schools superintendent, of his district’s mask policy.
Hours after the CDC’s announcement – and the night before school started – Butts recommended his district’s fully vaccinated teachers and students wear a mask. It was already required for those who have not been vaccinated, he said.
So far, most people in his schools are taking the CDC’s advice, he said.
“In the elementary schools that I visited, I would estimate somewhere around 90% of our staff had them on,” Butts said. “Of course, 100% of our children had them on, and the junior highs that I went to was probably closer to 80% of our staff.”
Avon Community School District said Wednesday that The only change is that now masks are recommended for vaccinated individuals as well as for unvaccinated individuals.
“I would recommend taking every safe step possible, imaginable, doable to keep the kiddos in school,” Gov. Eric Holcomb told reporters this week.
Holcomb said he doesn’t want to see students face any additional learning loss this school year.
“There are steps that schools can take, many are, as they go back, they’ve stated, about distancing, about masking,” he said.
The Indiana State Teachers Association is urging school districts across Indiana to follow the CDC’s guidelines, the organization said in a statement released Wednesday.