Masks returning to Wayne Township


staff report

In an email to Wayne Township families Monday night, superintendent Dr. Jeff Butts announced that wearing masks will become mandatory in all Wayne Township facilities beginning Wednesday.
His email follows:
“At the beginning of the summer, I did not believe I would be communicating this message again.   Marion County is on track to be in the Orange Advisory Level this week as a result of the number of new cases and the percentage of cases that are positive.  The data in the M.S.D. of Wayne Township is reflective of the increases we are seeing as a community.  Beginning Wednesday, August 11, 2021, all individuals will be required to wear a mask inside any M.S.D. of Wayne Township facility and while traveling on school buses.  Exceptions still include:
  • A child under the age of 2 years;
  • A person with a disability who cannot wear a mask, or cannot safely wear a mask, for reasons related to the disability;
  • A person for whom wearing a mask would create a risk to workplace health, safety, or job duty as determined by the workplace risk assessment external icon.

Recently, the CDC updated quarantine guidance stating: “In the K–12 indoor classroom setting, the close contact definition excludes students who were within 3 to 6 feet of an infected student (laboratory-confirmed or a clinically compatible illness) if both the infected student and the exposed student(s) correctly and consistently wore well-fitting masks the entire time”.

Last week, 388 M.S.D. of Wayne Township students were quarantined because they were a close contact.  This is our 6th highest number of quarantines since the pandemic began and our highest since April 30.  Last week we quarantined 73 students.  That means over the first 8 days of school, 461 students are not able to receive instruction from their teacher for 10 days.  That also means that the families of those 461 students were disrupted and it may have negatively impacted their ability to earn a wage and provide for their family.  Also last week, 37 students and staff tested positive.  Our 4th highest total since the beginning of the pandemic and the highest since January 8, 2021.   By requiring all individuals to wear a mask we greatly reduce our need to quarantine, disrupt the learning for our students, and negatively impact their families ability to work.

We continue to monitor our data and have several recent data points that are concerning:
  • Indiana reported 2,056 new cases Friday.  This is the most since Feb 6, with 7.4% of today’s batch of tests coming back positive. The 7-day positivity rate, which runs a week behind, continues an unbroken 5-week rise to 8.5%, the highest since Jan 31, & has quadrupled since its low point on Jun 30.
  • The Marion County percent of positive cases is now up to 8%
  • Today, 1,017 Hoosiers are hospitalized with coronavirus, 40 more than yesterday and the first time over 1,000 since May 5
  • Only 43% of Marion County residents are fully vaccinated
  • Only 23% of children age 12 – 15 are fully vaccinated
  • Only 34% of young  adults 16  -19 are fully vaccinated
I understand that this email will be received with mixed emotions.  I share many of those emotions with you.  We will continue to work towards keeping our students in school this year and avoiding a need to move between in-person, hybrid, and remote learning.