Jackson County schools announce reopening plans


By Lori McDonald and Zach Spicer | The Tribune
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Three of Jackson County’s four public school districts start the 2021-22 school year in the first week of August.

As students and staff return to the classroom, they won’t be required to wear one thing they had to at that time a year ago: A face mask.

Brownstown Central Community School Corp. has announced face masks are highly recommended but not required. Crothersville Community School Corp. said masks are optional inside school; however, all bus riders are required to wear them while on board.

Medora Community School Corp.’s return-to-school plan says masks will be optional for students, staff and parents. Masks also will be optional for Seymour Community School Corp. students, staff and guests, but they will be available by request.

“One exception with the masks will be in the nurse’s office,” Seymour Superintendent Brandon Harpe said. “If a student shows up sick in the nurse’s office, that student will be given a mask to put on. Other than that, it will be optional.”

The first student days are Aug. 3 for Crothersville, Aug. 5 for Seymour, Aug. 6 for Brownstown Central and Aug. 10 for Medora.


During a recent school board meeting, Harpe said he and Assistant Superintendent of Operations Talmadge Reasoner had met with Jackson County Health Officer Dr. Christopher Bunce to review the return-to-school COVID protocol.

“With the exception of OWL Tech students, all students will be attending Seymour schools in person full time,” Harpe said. “So there will be no hybrid schedule under current conditions, but OWL Tech students are virtual students by nature.”

Social distancing will be practiced at the schools when possible, he said.

“That’s probably one of the good habits that will stay after the pandemic is over,” Harpe said.

The schools also will maintain their high standards of cleaning and disinfecting and continue to promote good hygiene.

“Our students and staff have done a great job complying with the safety measures and adapting to change,” Harpe said.

Contact tracing only will be done when directed to do so by health care professionals.

“Athletics will be full go, and spectators will be welcomed at our events,” Harpe said. “The buildings will be open to visitors with the exception of school lunchrooms right now.”

Due to the ever-changing nature of the pandemic, Harpe said there may be exceptions or changes based on requirements or recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Indiana State Department of Health and local health officials.

Brownstown Central

A three-page reopening plan was shared with the BCCSC board of school trustees during its recent meeting.

Some procedures for entering the schools will be building-specific, but all will have hand sanitizer throughout the buildings, and signage will be posted to communicate how to stop the spread, COVID-19 symptoms, preventative measures and good hygiene.

Students and staff will self-monitor their temperature and symptoms on a daily basis and should stay home if they are sick or have been in close contact with someone with COVID symptoms.

Staff members will clean frequently touched surfaces daily and shared objects after each use, and students are encouraged to bring their own reusable water bottles since bottle fill stations will be available.

While there will be assigned seating in classrooms, classes may utilize larger areas, such as going outdoors, when possible so students can spread out.

On school buses, students will sit in assigned seats and social distance as allowable. Buses will be cleaned and disinfected by drivers daily and aired out when not in use.

Board President Scott Shade said he is very excited about the reopening plan bringing some normalcy so kids can get back to school to learn.

Trustee Clayton Beard agreed.

“It absolutely tickles my heartstrings to know that our kids and faculty can go back to school and not — although highly recommended — wear masks,” he said. “I’m just very thankful and happy for that. I just wish everybody a safe return to school and good luck.”


Crothersville expects families to screen their children and keep them home from school if they are ill.

Students and staff should stay home if they have a fever of at least 100.4 or exhibit COVID-19 symptoms.

At school, regular handwashing will be encouraged for students and staff, and hand sanitizer will be available in classrooms and common areas.

Desks and hard surfaces will continue to be disinfected, and staff members will continue to use sanitizer and cleaning products throughout the school day.

In the event a student displays COVID symptoms, there will be a designated area for him or her to wait to be picked up from school.

Crothersville also announced in-town bus stop service will be provided for morning pickup beginning at 7:15 a.m.

The new bus stop locations will be at the car wash on U.S. 31, southeast corner of Seymour Road and Walnut Street, Alliance Bible Church parking lot on East Street, northwest corner of Walnut and Kovener streets, southwest corner of Kovener and Howard streets, northeast corner of Park and Rider avenues and corner of North East Street and Virginia Court.


At Medora, all students will attend in person every school day, and schools will be at full capacity.

Social distancing of 3 feet will be practiced when possible, but it may not be possible in many cases, according to the recently released return-to-school plan. Seating may be arranged to have all students face the same direction when possible.

Hand sanitizer will be available in classrooms, and students will have the opportunity to clean their hands as they enter and exit. Handwashing will be encouraged.

The corporation will continue to use enhanced cleaning practices and provide extra handwashing materials and cleaning supplies.

Parents are asked to be attentive of the daily health of their child or children and ensure they are symptom-free and safe to attend school. Staff members should do the same. Anyone experiencing symptoms should not go to school.

Students and staff with proof of vaccination will not need to quarantine if they are identified as a direct contact as long as they remain symptom-free. Unvaccinated students and staff who are direct contacts, however, will be required to quarantine for 14 days, per CDC guidelines.

Athletics, clubs and other extracurricular activities will operate in person and with spectators, and visitors will be welcome into the school building.

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