The Monroe County Community School Corporation will move from “phase green” back to “phase yellow” starting Nov. 30 after analyzing recent COVID-19 information.
The 35% of the student body who is still learning virtually will remain online, according to an email sent to MCCSC parents Tuesday afternoon. Pre-K-6 students will continue attending school in person, while middle and high school students will move back to the hybrid schedule that was used in September. These students will attend school in person two to three times a week and virtually the rest of the weekdays.
The Metrics committee advised the decision in accordance with metrics agreed upon in the fall. These metrics are the rate of infection, the number of cases per day, the number of cases per day for every 100,000 people, test turnaround time and how long it takes for contact tracers to notify a close contact.
As the metrics can change quickly, parents were told to be aware of any future changes.
“Please be prepared for a sudden change to the learning status,” the email said.
While the metrics committee met on Tuesday, Assistant Superintendent Andrea Mobley said they are constantly assessing the data for irregular changes.
“Please know that we are monitoring the data on a daily basis, multiple times throughout the day, along with evenings and weekends,” Mobley said. “We are in regular communication with the Monroe County Health Department when necessary regarding specific cases related to MCCSC.”
No singular statistic determines what phase the district is in. Paul Farmer, president of the Monroe County Education Association and member of the Metrics committee, explained they also do not make the final decision, Superintendent Judy DeMuth does.
“Just like everywhere else in the state of Indiana, our numbers are starting to rise,” Farmer said. “Bloomington has done a really good job of keeping the numbers low this fall. The question is how are we going to do moving forward?”
In their meetings, the group meets with the Monroe County Health Department, IU and local physicians. Sometimes they will meet with a representative from the Indiana State Department of Health.
In total, there have been 98.5 COVID-19 cases detected at MCCSC schools, but Farmer and many of his colleagues are confident the coronavirus has not spread within the classroom. Typically, he saw instances of the coronavirus being spread through small social gatherings such as sleepovers or birthday parties.
“Our classrooms are safe,” Farmer said. “It’s a very safe place for our students to be. So, are they safer at home or are they safer in our building?”
Farmer noted some students may have been exposed through school-sponsored sporting events that had previously been taking place.
The committee will meet again to decide the learning format for the spring semester. This decision is expected by Dec.15.