Indiana is no longer requiring K-12 schools to implement any COVID-19 precautions or restrictions. State health officials say those decisions must now be made at the local level.
Department of Health Chief Medical Officer Dr. Lindsay Weaver said she understands that people want the new school year to be more normal than it has since the pandemic began.
“But we also want schools to remember that COVID-19 is a communicable disease and that schools are congregate settings where this virus can spread quickly among large groups of people,” Weaver said.
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The state will still provide data on the virus to local communities and schools and provide recommendations when requested. Weaver said based on current Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidance, fully vaccinated people do not need to wear a mask unless they’re immunocompromised.
“Fully vaccinated students will not need to quarantine unless they become symptomatic and then they should stay home and be tested," Weaver said. "You would not let someone with measles or chickenpox continue to come to school and put others at risk. COVID-19 is the same situation and requires the same diligence.”
Weaver said the state is also offering to help schools set up COVID-19 vaccination clinics. The state will not impose any mandates on receiving the vaccine. State officials said if schools want to require the vaccine for eligible students, those decisions must be made by local officials.
COVID-19 vaccines are still only available for those age 12 and older. Box and Weaver said the latest information they received about initial availability for children under age 12 is potentially any time between September and December of this year.