Now that in-person classes have resumed at Carmel Clay Schools, administrators acknowledge it’s only a matter of time before a COVID-19 case is identified in a student or staff member at school.
When that happens, school officials are prepared to work with the Hamilton County Health Dept. to review each positive diagnosis on a case-by-case to determine who needs to stay home.
“We work with (school districts) and the state to identify who has been in their educational pod at school. Then we will help them make the determination based on the risk factors for who needs to quarantine,” said Christian Walker, emergency preparedness coordinator for the Hamilton County Health Dept.
CCS and its partners got some practice in handling COVID-19 cases before school began as three students involved in athletics tested positive for the disease in the last three weeks. Those students and others possibly exposed had sit out for 10 to 14 days, CCS Supt. Michael Beresford said, adding that in each case the parents of the affected student notified the district about the diagnosis.
Beresford said district officials plan to track positive cases and those quarantined in a spreadsheet, but they have not determined how that information will be released to the community. He said confidentiality laws prohibit the district from releasing information on individual cases and that parents likely won’t be alerted about a case in their child’s school unless their child is exposed or directly affected.
Beresford said he expects CCS will release aggregate information about active cases, but he’s not sure how often the numbers will be updated.
CCS is prepared to pivot to a fully virtual learning model if necessary, a decision that would be made based on advice from county health officials.
“If we get to a point where they give us the red flag, we’re going to follow their guidance,” Beresford said. “That’s what we did (when schools closed in March). I’m hopeful we can get pretty far into the semester. I really want our kids to have time to build relationships with their teachers.”