Crothersville reports handful of COVID-19 cases at school

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CROTHERSVILLE

Crothersville Community Schools officials continue to promote proper hygiene as five elementary students have tested positive for COVID-19.

During a special meeting of the board of school trustees Monday night, Superintendent Terry Goodin said the positive cases resulted in three classrooms — one third grade, one fourth grade and one fifth grade — being quarantined for 14 days.

“I don’t want to have to cancel school and do everything virtual, so we’ll go until we can’t go anymore,” Goodin said.

Neighboring Scott County School District 1 in Austin currently has all students doing virtual learning through Monday due to a high number of virus cases and students in quarantine.

“Our kids are doing great, and the grownups and everybody have been wonderful,” Goodin said. “For us to only have basically five cases and we’ve been in school now for two weeks, that’s kudos to the kids and everybody else. They are taking it serious. We need to make sure everybody keeps taking it serious.”

Goodin said junior-senior high school Principal Doug Ballinger and elementary Principal Whitney Reinhart are making sure everyone follows proper hygiene, including washing their hands, using hand sanitizer and not touching their eyes or face after touching a common surface.

With Jackson County still at the yellow level in the Indiana State Department of Health’s color-coded system for community spread of COVID-19, Goodin said everyone is asked to keep 3 feet of distance between each other, and face masks are highly recommended.

If the county bumps up to orange, the protocol is 6 feet of distance and masks strongly encouraged. If it reaches the highest level of red, 6 feet of distance and masks are required. The state’s color-coded system is updated each Wednesday.

Crothersville’s policy also states any employee not vaccinated against COVID-19 is required to wear a mask. Board President Linda Luedeman asked if employees can be asked if they are vaccinated, and Goodin said yes. She also asked if they are obligated to respond, and he had the same answer.

“It’s not considered a health record under HIPAA law, so we can ask for verification if we need to do that,” he said. “We want to go on everybody’s goodwill, of course. We’re going to try to work through that, and if we get to the point where we can’t do that, then we may have to change up the protocol, but right now, it seems to be working OK.”

Trustee John Riley asked if the board should revisit the 14-day quarantine policy, noting Austin only requires 10 days. Goodin said he has spoken with the county health officer, Dr. Christopher Bunce, on multiple occasions about the school’s policies.

Goodin said he would inquire about the quarantine policy again.

“That’s two school weeks. That’s more than appropriate,” he said of the 10-day rule. “I’ll look into it, see what all that entails, see if we have to jump through any type of special hoops to get that done.”

Riley said he expects it to be a tough school year since the Delta variant of the virus is more contagious, and fellow Trustee Chad Ord said he doesn’t recall that many elementary students getting COVID-19 last school year.

“We’ll just keep plugging along,” Goodin said. “As I told the staff on the first day, we’ll always err on the side of safety, so any decisions that we make will always be the safest protocol.”