Elkhart Co. Health Officer Recommends Schools Can Offer Reopening Plan For In-Person Class

Jul 31, 2020

The Elkhart County Health Officer has just issued new guidance on reopening schools. She is recommending that schools can offer an option to reopen for in-person instruction. In addition, Dr. Lydia Mertz will also announce today that Elkhart County will move to Stage 4.5 with the rest of the state in reopening the economy. Elkhart County had been "paused" at Stage 4 behind the rest of the state due to earlier surging COVID-19 case numbers.

Elkhart County schools have been given the green light by the County Health Officer to offer an option to reopen for in-person classes.

Health Officer Dr. Lydia Mertz was considering recommending schools in Elkhart County start with virtual learning for all students due to the number of COVID-19 cases.

But Mertz says she now feels it’s safe for schools to go forward with in-person learning after watching cases in the County decrease over the past few weeks.

Mertz said in a press release that there remains a “small risk” with in- person learning, however she said the advantages outweigh the risks at this time.

Elkhart Community Schools Superintendent Steve Thalheimer said he feels confident in his school’s re entry plan which gives students the option of either attending in-person for two days and eLearning for two days or a fully virtual option.

“We’ve always believed since the beginning that with our hybrid plan, we’re finding that middle ground of being able to provide students in-person instruction which we know is so important, while also providing opportunities for there to be fewer students in our building to ensure the things to keep our staff and students safe are in place.”

Mertz also gave the go ahead for high school athletics but urged caution on that front to prevent the potential for what she called the “high risk for viral spread” of COVID-19.

(You can read the entire release below. )