Newly reported COVID-19 cases in schools are on the rise – again
Newly reported COVID-19 cases among students in Indiana's K-12 schools are once again on the rise.
Hoosier schools reported more than 1,419 new student COVID-19 cases in a single day last week, part of a total of 4,321 newly reported cases included in the state's latest school dashboard update. That's the highest daily total since early September.
Ahead of Thanksgiving, cases had started to creep back up after weeks of decline. That, combined with new vaccine eligibility for all school-aged children, prompted some schools to end mask requirements over winter break while others adjusted their COVID-19 protocols to change as the pandemic does.
The increase in student cases mirrors Indiana's overall climb in new cases, which set 2021 records last week. The state has reported more than 3,000 new cases each day for the last 10.
Just this semester, schools have reported 52,986 cases of student COVID-19 – compared to 35,781 reported all of last school year.
The Indiana Department of Health does not require people who have been vaccinated within the past three months to quarantine if they're a close contact, but recommends testing five days after exposure. If a school requires students to wear masks and students continue wearing them properly, they don't have to quarantine or take a test as long as they don't develop symptoms.
Meanwhile, the department's latest guidance says unvaccinated people should quarantine if they're identified as a close contact, and can end quarantine after seven days if they're not showing symptoms, test negative after the fifth day, and continue wearing a mask and social distancing. But the department and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend unvaccinated people quarantine for the full 14-day period.