The Monroe County Community School Corporation school board met Tuesday evening to amend current COVID-19 protocols and introduce new health policies.
The board amended one of their current COVID-19 policies to allow staff and students who have come in contact with an asymptomatic individual to return to school if they test negative for COVID-19. The negative result would have to be collected five to seven days following the exposure. These individuals must adhere to enhanced precautions for 14 days after contact.
These precautions include wearing a mask at all times in school, eating or drinking no less than six feet away from others, practicing good hand hygiene and monitoring symptoms daily. If the individual develops any symptoms during this period, they are advised to go home and take a COVID-19 test. If the test results are negative, the individual must remain at home through 14 days, and if it’s positive they should isolate 10 days from the first sign of symptoms.
Board member Erin Cooperman presented updates from the MCCSC COVID-19 Monitoring and Advisory Committee. Cooperman addressed the status of current mitigation policies including testing, contact tracing, distancing and hybrid learning as well as Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Indiana Department of Health advisories.
“We do feel like the current mitigation measures that we have in place are continuing to work to provide a low risk environment,” Cooperman said.
Cooperman gave suggestions to balance the stress of hybrid learning while prioritizing safety. She said schools should make more effort to avoid unnecessary hybrid learning and incentivize outdoor activities for students.
When the amendment was called to a vote, board member April Hennessey was the only member to abstain, concerned with the outdoor protocols for students. Hennessey said despite research showing the likelihood of transmission to decrease outdoors, students still interact and play closely to each other during recess.
“But I do worry in those close settings, that we are at risk for transmission,” Hennessey said. “I think twelve and under are most at risk in terms of not being vaccinated.”
The board also approved the 2022 budget introduced in their meeting Aug. 24. Director of Business Operations John Kenny gave an overview of the budget before the board voted unanimously to pass the proposed budget.
The proposed budget marks an approximate $6.5 million increase from last year. All of the funds in the yearly budget were increased. The largest increase, coming from the debt service fund, is a $2.7 million increase from 2020.