Indiana schools are reporting hundreds of new student cases of COVID-19 – with some only days into a new academic year. And it's disrupting classrooms and extracurricular activities across the state.
According to the Indiana Department of Health's COVID-19 dashboard, Hoosier schools have reported more than 300 new cases in the last week alone.
In Anderson, entire classrooms of elementary school students have been forced to quarantine, and in southern Indiana, a high school football game was canceled because of the number of players in quarantine.
These cases are part of the state's overall increase in new COVID-19 cases. June averaged a pandemic-low 284 cases per day, but those numbers rose in July as the state averaged more than 600 new cases per day. In nine days of data for August, the state is averaging more than 1,800 new cases per day.
The outbreaks – combined with the latest guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention – are prompting some schools to revisit mask policies.
One of the largest school districts in the state, Fort Wayne Community Schools, announced Monday that all people in schools are required to wear masks regardless of vaccination status as it prepares for students to return next week.
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Others have yet to change course, including a charter school in Monroe County defying a mask mandate from local officials.
The governor and state department of health are strongly recommending people get vaccinated and mask up. But both have recently said the state has no plans for a new mask order, and are leaving it to local health departments and school boards to decide what COVID-19 mitigation measures to take up in their communities.