Bremen Schools requiring masks for all students and staff

BREMEN, Ind. -- Jim White, the superintendent of Bremen Schools, announced all students and staff will be required to wear a mask as of September 7.

In the past ten days, 127 students and 17 staff have been forced to quarantine due to exposure to those with COVID-19. In addition, 30 students and 8 staff have tested positive.

Smith said he didn't want to make the decision to require masks, but the decision means fewer people will be forced to quarantine.

Governor Eric Holcomb's latest COVID-19 related emergency order says if a school requires masks, those who are considered close contacts will not be required to quarantine if they are asymptomatic.

Masks will not be required for extra-curricular activities, but anyone exposed to COVID-19 in that setting will be required to quarantine.

The superintendent said when the county returns to yellow status on the state's website, masks will no longer be required.

White's full statement:

Looking back at the past ten days we have had 127 students and 17 staff members be forced to quarantine due to exposure to individuals with COVID 19. Additionally, we have had 30 students, and 8 staff members test positive for COVID. Marshall County has moved into the “orange” designation (according to the ISHD dashboard) and with the Blue Berry Festival anticipating an estimated 500,000 visitors, additional community spread is expected. It is highly likely that our county status will move to “red” when next week’s update is issued.

One of the difficult aspects of leadership is that at times, leaders must ask people to do things which they would prefer not to attempt. In that note, I must announce that beginning on Tuesday, September 7th all students and staff will be required to wear facial coverings (masks) during the school day.

Please note that this is a decision which I would have preferred not to have made, however, after a great deal of consultation with the Marshall County Health Department, I feel that it is a necessary step. I take no pleasure, nor derive no satisfaction from this action. Unfortunately, I feel this action is necessary to promote the health and safety of our staff and students.

There is some good news in this announcement, as Governor Holcomb’s executive order allows for schools to stop requiring students who are close contacts to quarantine if the school population wears facial coverings. This will allow for the immediate return of otherwise healthy staff and students to continue their studies and duties in person. Additionally, this will allow us to resume our normal class rotation for our middle school students which will provide for a more variety in our students’ academic week.

Masks will not be required for extra-curricular activities; however, it is important to note that exposure to COVID in such settings may lead to students being required to quarantine.

Lastly, this is not a request without end. When our county status returns to “yellow” status, we will cease mask wearing and return to operating with masks being recommended. With luck, this will be a brief experience.

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