Task force says schools will make call on going virtual

The Bartholomew County COVID-19 task force says that the organization will be tracking and updating the various indicators being used to determine whether county schools should be in session, but the ultimate decision is up to the school districts.

The Community Educators Association and the Flat Rock-Hawcreek Teacher’s Association said on Sunday that they were hoping for more transparency in how those numbers are being tracked, and when an increase in the spread of COVID-19 in the community would lead to school closings.

The task force took over the tracking of those numbers recently, and announced that it would be working closely with the school administrators to analyze the data. However the task force, made up of city and county officials, along with school officials, Columbus Regional Health and the county health department, said that it does not have the authority to open or close schools. Instead that responsiblity lies with the schools themselves. The task force said that the schools would be issuing their processes for making those decisions on the district website.

According to the indicators presented Monday, the county continues to see signs of substantial spread based on the per capita positive rate of 21 positive tests per 100 thousand population. That is more than double the level that indicates substantial spread in the community. That indicator has been in the red for eight consecutive days. It would have to drop to below 10 to show moderate spread or below 5 to show no spread.

The number of COVID hospitalizations has been trending in the red for the past nine days, but dipped back into the moderate spread indicator on Sunday with only 13 COVID-19 hospitalizations in the county.

Bartholomew County COVID-19 Task Force statement here