On Wednesday, September 1, 2021, Indiana Governor Eric Holcomb signed Executive Order 21-24 which …
…allow(s) for schools and day cares to modify quarantine provisions if the facilities adhere to the following orders and guidance set by IDOH [PDF Version]:
- Schools and day cares that have mask requirements that are consistently followed throughout the day do not have to quarantine students, teachers and staff who are close contacts and aren't showing symptoms of COVID-19;
- Schools and day cares must continue to contact trace by notifying their local health department as well as parents, teachers and staff who were in close contact.
The executive order will expire Sept. 30, 2021.
Franklin Township Community School Corporation Caves
Prior to Executive Order 21-24, Franklin Township Community School Corporation (FTSC) had only been requiring children to wear masks on school buses. Any mask-wearing in schools had been left up to the student's and parents' discretion.
On Thursday, September 2, 2021, FTSC Superintendent Dr. Kent Pettet announced that masks were to be required indoors yet again due to Governor Holcomb's EO.
Dear FTCSC Families,
Yesterday Governor Eric Holcomb announced Executive Order 21-24. In this order, Governor Holcomb directed Indiana State Health Commissioner Dr. Box to evaluate and modify COVID-19 quarantine protocols. Dr. Box and the Indiana Department of Health then shared new COVID-19 quarantine protocols for schools. If everyone is wearing a mask in school, only the COVID-19 positive case would need to be quarantined. Anyone that was deemed a close contact will be asked to self-monitor and will not have to quarantine. The new Executive Order began yesterday and continues until September 30th.
The purpose of this change is to lower the number of students that must quarantine with each positive case. In FTCSC, our daily quarantine percent has been between 3.5%-5.5%, and with 12,514, that means about 400-500 students/staff are in quarantine each day. Governor Eric Holcomb and Indiana State Health Commissioner Dr. Box's announcement will allow us to eliminate almost all quarantines and thus keep more students in school.
Therefore, starting on Tuesday, September 7th, FTCSC will require all students and staff to wear masks while indoors during the school day and continue to require masks on school buses. This requirement will stay in place thru Thursday, September 30th. This situation has been and will continue to remain fluid. We will review our data from September and continue to review health recommendations. It is our intention to return to parent's discretion on mask wearing on Friday, October 1st.
All students and staff that are currently on quarantine and are not showing a COVID-19 symptom should return to school on Tuesday, September 7th. For students and staff that are currently COVID-19 positive or if you have been told to stay home due to symptoms, your previous return to school date still applies.
We appreciate everyone's support and patience as we continue to navigate this fluid situation and try to keep as many students in school as possible. We have updated our Return to School website with the changes announced in this notification.
Indiana Governor Eric Holcomb Bullies Schools Into Masking
We're a month into the school year, and FTSC Superintendent Dr. Kent Pettet has done an EXCELLENT job at keeping parents informed on every single school's COVID-19 stats. Right down to the breakdown of actual positive COVID-19 cases and the percentage of “contact traced” individuals who didn't actually have COVID-19.
While we are upset that no parental input was used to make this decision, Dr. Pettet's hands were tied by Indiana Governor Eric Holcomb in the decision making of reimplementing masks in the schools.
EO 21-24 was a bully move on the governor's part as Eric Holcomb most certainly realized that the number of kids out of school WITHOUT COVID-19 due to contact tracing was far higher than the number of kids out of school who actually had/have COIVD-19.
Any educator in their right mind would do anything possible to ensure that school was disrupted as little as possible. Thus you get the mask requirement in place again. And that's all on Eric Holcomb and Indiana State Health Commissioner Dr. Kristina Box.
Do Masks Really Make A Difference?
I'll preface this with I'm not a doctor and I'm not a virologist. Most likely you are not either. Nor is our governor or the media. And our Health Commissioner, Dr. Box, is an obstetrician and gynecologist. She probably knows a little more than the rest of us, but viruses aren't her expertise.
Let's assume that masks do stop some transmission of COVID-19 infused “droplets” that might be in the air. Great news, right?
OK, now we take that mask off with our hands and touch whatever particles the mask may have caught. Then we rub our eyes. And suddenly we just rubbed COVID-19 in our eyes. Awesome, we now have COVID-19 from something that was supposed to help us.
Now let's put that scenario aside and address an actual everyday issue in the schools. Lunch.
Every single day children are sitting at lunchroom tables across from one another, maskless, eating, drinking, and talking. Food is flying, spit is flying, and whatever germs they may have are getting spun around on a Tilt-O-Whirl centrifuge and getting a ride around the entire cafeteria. If just one of them has an active case of COVID-19, it just had the ride of its life and is ready to replicate.
And with that illustration, I really don't see how masks are some magic tool that schools can use to fight COVID-19. Last school year masks were in place and our numbers look pretty similar to this school year. But the governor knows best.
Meanwhile, Indiana State Health Commissioner Dr. Kristina Box Goes Maskless
Indiana State Health Commissioner Dr. Kristina Box is being accused of hypocrisy after a photo emerged online that showed her not wearing a mask at a recent family wedding.
The photo was obtained and posted to social media by WIBC's Rob Kendall of the “Mock n' Rob Show” Monday morning.
Dr. Box defended the photo in a statement to The Journal Gazette Monday afternoon.
“I made an informed decision to take off my mask while dancing or talking with fully vaccinated guests,” she said. “This was a private event in which all but five guests present were fully vaccinated. Those five individuals included children for whom the vaccine is not yet approved and people with medical conditions whose private physicians have recommended they not receive the vaccine at this time.”
She added: “The CDC guidance calls for individuals to wear masks in indoor public settings in areas of high or sustained transmission because those are areas in which you do not know the vaccination status of the individuals who are gathered. I continue to wear my mask in these settings and encourage Hoosiers to do the same.”
Fun Fact: The CDC's data also shows that vaccinated persons can still spread the Delta variant. In addition, a recent study found “no significant difference in the viral load present in the breakthrough infections occurring in fully vaccinated people and the other cases, suggesting the viral load of vaccinated and unvaccinated persons infected with the coronavirus is similar.”
I share this merely to point out the hypocrisy. Here's someone who told us to stay away from family in 2020. Then she herself visited her own family and ended up contracting COVID-19 from it. And now we have the person who's supposed to be in charge not listening to herself AND making excuses for it that simply do not make scientific sense.