BAGS to stop contact tracing

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) – Schools in Southwest Allen County will halt contact tracing protocols.

On Monday night, the District Board of Directors voted 5-0 to stop contact tracing when there are COVID-19 infections in the district. The vote came from a “Report on Contact Tracing and Quarantine Process” that was on the agenda.

The change will take effect on February 16, the board decided.

So, students will no longer need to self-quarantine if they are considered a “close contact.” SACS Board Chairman Brad Mills told WANE 15 that the aim is to “provide the best education and learning environment for all students”.

“We think kids have to be in school to do that,” Mills said.

Last month, the Indiana Department of Health said in new guidelines that schools with mask mandates in place could end individual contract tracing and close contact notification and instead do notifications about positive cases in entire classrooms. However, schools that do not have a mask mandate in place were not included in the change.

SACS does not currently have a mask mandate in place.

Mills told WANE 15 there are no plans to add a mask mandate. Mills said he spoke with the school’s attorney before making the decision last night.

“We believe the climate has changed enough to move forward,” Mills said. “We have to wait and see, but our lawyers have let us know that we think we’ll be fine with this motion.”

Mills pointed to Huntington, Whitley and DeKalb counties and said they all had policies similar to those SACS enacted last night in place for months and had had no issues.

Superintendent Dr. Park Ginder said Wednesday he believes changes to the state’s mandate are coming based on conversations the district has had with the Indiana Department of Health.

He said they will still recommend masks to students but they won’t need them, and the constant message to wash your hands and stay home if you’re not feeling well will still be passed on to students. students.

Dr. Ginder added that he was very proud of the way parents in the district reported to schools when their child was sick with COVID-19, and he wants that to continue.

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