INDIANAPOLIS – Gov. Eric Holcomb on Wednesday loosened quarantine rules for symptom-free students, teachers and staff in close contact with a positive COVID-19 case – but only if schools mandate masks.
The new approach provides a key incentive to districts struggling with the mask question while also not being a mandate. Fort Wayne Community Schools and Northwest Allen County Schools have mask requirements while East Allen County Schools and Southwest Allen County Schools are mask-optional.
Holcomb issued a new executive order Wednesday running through September and the Indiana Department of Health also issued a COVID-19 control measure. That measure says schools and day cares that have mask requirements “that are consistently followed throughout the day” do not have to quarantine students, teachers and staff who are close contacts and aren't showing symptoms of COVID-19.
But they still must contact trace the cases by notifying their local health department as well as parents, teachers and staff who were in close contact.
The control measure says close contacts may continue to attend school if all adults and students in the classroom correctly and consistently wear well-fitting masks the entire time. If symptoms appear the person should leave the school and be tested and isolate.
The exception to quarantine only applies in the classroom setting and does not apply to extracurriculars and athletics, for example.
Holcomb also issued more guidance for hospitals as the Delta surge continues to plague medical providers with capacity and staff shortages.
Elsewhere in the order, he reinstitutes a work search requirement for Hoosiers to consider receiving Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, also known as welfare; and a one-week waiting period on unemployment claims.