Rising COVID-19 cases prompt another central Indiana school to move classes online



NOBLESVILLE, Ind.– Noblesville East Middle School is the latest central Indiana school moving to virtual learning after more than 20% of staff and students are absent due to COVID-19.

In a statement, the school said in part, “We’re moving to this short-term, temporary virtual instruction to slow the spread of illness. Please know that we believe students learn best in school and did not make this move lightly.”

Wake Forest will return to school on Thursday, August 26, 2021.

DePauw will return to school on Monday, August 30, 2021.

All other NEMS teams return to school on Tuesday, August 31, 2021.

“It’s not taken lightly when we have to close down a school, it’s a multiple agency looking at different components to make this decision,” said James Ginder, a Health Education Specialist with the Hamilton County Health Department.

“The schools we support in Hamilton County are starting to see more cases of individuals, specifically elementary through high school, developing signs and symptoms,” Ginder said.

With Labor Day coming up, health officials worry cases could continue to climb. Other central Indiana schools are facing the same challenges.

“We have had some schools reach 20% absentee here in Marion County but that’s because of quarantine, they’re not really sick,” said Melissa McMasters, an Infectious Disease Administrator for the Marion County Health Department.

“If you look at all the cases in Marion County, a third of them are in ages 0-18,” McMasters said. “That’s totally different than what we saw initially with COVID-19. Definitely the virus has taken hold of that younger age group and we’re seeing more hospitalizations, doctor visits, everything.”

“All the things we did in the initial days of the pandemic still have a role, even though we have vaccines,” McMasters said. “It’s about layering all those things together.”

She said parents should encourage their children to mask up regardless of school requirements.

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