VANDERBURGH COUNTY, Ind. (WEHT) – Just this summer, the Evansville Vanderburgh School Corporation announced that masks were only going to be recommended inside school buildings this year. But with the number of new COVID cases growing per week, EVSC Superintendent Dr. David Smith and the school board decided to revisit the topic of the mask policy.
He says they are closely following the state’s weekly two-metric score, calculating the 7-day positivity rate as well as how many weekly cases are reported per one hundred thousand residents.
“When the county metric reaches 1.5 or higher, mask-wearing will be mandatory inside EVSC facilities. And when it is 1.0 or lower, then it will go back to a recommendation, said Dr. Smith.
As of now, Vanderburgh county is at a 1.5 on the scale, so students will be required to wear masks when school is back in session on Monday.
Smith added “I don’t think anyone wants to wear a mask, but we need to balance the educational outcome and environment for students as well as making certain that their health and safety and well-being is uppermost in our mind also.”
Smith says that they are doing as much as they can on their end to ensure a safe environment for students, faculty and all school personnel.
“EVSC was the largest school district for in-person instruction each and every day last year in the entire Midwest. And we did that by working together with our community, by putting in layered mitigation strategies that make sense,” said Dr. Smith.
One thing is certain – safety is on the minds of many people around the tri-state.
“I think it’s a good idea because it gives a chance for some of the – especially the older kids to go ahead and get vaccinated. So it’s safer for the large population of the school,” said Lynn Johnson of Henderson.
“I do hope and pray that it will subside where we can not wear masks the entire year,” said Dr. Smith.
The metric scale is released every Wednesday and Dr. Smith says they will be monitoring the results weekly to reevaluate their mask policy as the school year goes along.