While You Were Sleeping: Coronavirus updates for August 21

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INDIANAPOLIS — There were several developments in the coronavirus pandemic that you may have missed overnight.

Here’s a look:

High school football amid pandemic. High school football season officially kicks off in Indiana today. Many student-athletes are excited to get back on the field, but the season will look very different because of COVID-19.

The IHSAA put out some guidelines for schools to consider to keep everyone safe and healthy. Things like making sure the ball is cleaned and sanitized throughout the game and no shaking hands.

But these are just guidelines. The IHSAA is really letting schools decide what’s best because not every county looks the same when it comes to the number of COVID-19 cases. Many of the schools are working with their local health department to figure out the best course of action. For some, that’s limiting the amount of people in the stands if they are experiencing more cases. For others, it’s just making sure everyone wears a mask and stays at least six feet apart.

One big thing the association is looking at besides what happens on the field is what happens off the field. Several teams have already had to cancel their games for today because too many players are in quarantine.

For those games that had to be canceled, the IHSAA says the games will just be labeled “no contest.” Once the teams pass the health and safety requirements for practice, they will pick back up where they left off.

Colleges cracking down on parties. Students at IU and Purdue were warned by their presidents that if they continue to throw parties, there will be no in-person classes.

Students at both schools were caught at large parties. Purdue suspended 36 students after a party at a co-op house. The school says the party was in violation of the “Protect Purdue Pledge.” IU is also looking into a number of suspensions after a video surfaced online showing a large party at an off-campus house. Students who face suspension would first have a conduct hearing before a final decision is made. In-person classes at both schools are set to begin on Monday.

Case count continues to grow at Notre Dame. We’re also tracking the latest out of Notre Dame where more than 300 people have tested positive for the coronavirus.

The university does not test all students. It only tests those who come forward with three specific symptoms: fever, loss of taste or smell, and shortness of breath. It also tests the football team. In fact, a fifth of all the university’s testing since August 3 has been football players. Some students believe testing needs to be more balanced between the football program and the rest of the students.

On Tuesday, Notre Dame suspended all in-person classes for two weeks. School officials are asking students to avoid leaving campus or letting people onto campus.

70% of Madison County schools report cases. More cases are showing up at K-12 schools in central Indiana. New numbers from the Madison County Health Department show 70% of its schools have had cases this school year. Staff tested positive at eight schools, but less than 15 students have gotten sick.

The health department says most of the cases came up when sports started before classes started. They believe most of the students infected had mild symptoms or none at all. All schools in Madison County have a plan in place in case learning needs to shift entirely online.

Testing available at Kroger. There will soon be more testing locations in Indiana. Kroger is adding testing at its Indiana clinic locations. It will be by appointment only. Anyone can be tested, whether they have symptoms or not. 

Right now more than 200 state-sponsored COVID-19 testing sites are available.

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