EACS ends close contact tracing and close contact quarantine

NEW HAVEN, Ind. (WANE) – With COVID-19 cases declining, school districts in Allen County are abandoning close contact quarantine and contact tracing safety measures.

On Tuesday evening, the East Allen County Board of Directors voted unanimously to end the precautions. After the vote, many parents and board members said things were back to normal.

“I mean, I never knew how much I loved normalcy,” laughed EACS parents Janell Hicks.

Hicks’ son attends a high school in the EACS district, and she was glad the school board voted to eliminate the measures she didn’t think were necessary.

“It just increases their screen time exponentially,” Hicks said. “I think that’s why we’ve been hearing about teenage depression, anxiety, and even suicide that’s really increased during COVID.”

Hicks told WANE 15’s Briana Brownlee that her son had been quarantined twice – and had COVID once. Since he only experienced cold symptoms and was not hospitalized, Hicks did not support precautions.

EACS is the third school district in Allen County to eliminate security measures. Board chairman Todd Buckmasater has said in the past that sending healthy children home is always difficult.

“As we learn more, we are able to make better decisions because we have the power to do so,” Buckmaster said. “There was a lot of state and county stuff. They put stipulations on how we should move forward, but we’re at that point where we can get the kids back to school and it’s time.

Indiana state guidelines do not require students or staff to quarantine due to close contact if they are wearing masks. However, there is no mask mandate for schools in East Allen, Northwest Allen, and Southwest Allen counties.

“All school districts are different, and it would be very difficult to make a decision at the state level — because all districts, counties and communities are different,” Buckmaster said.

All three districts are still under mask mandates on school buses. Removal from office is not a decision that board members can vote on. The bus mandate is a federal directive from the Department of Public Transportation.

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