Tri-State superintendents speak on reopening schools

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(WEHT)- Superintendents from across the Tri-State explained their reopening plans for the school year in the midst of a global pandemic during an Eyewitness News special, Back to School: New Lessons.

Two Tri-State districts have already opened including Warrick County, which opened Wednesday and reported two students have COVID-19 Thursday.

“The two students that tested positive today, they weren’t infected at school. They brought the infection into school. the school administrators, the school team worked very quickly to identify them and to isolate them,” Brad Schneider says.

Superintendent Schneider explains students who have been exposed will now be quarantined for 14 days.

It’s been close to two weeks since the busses started running again in the Tell City-Troy Township district, “we don’t have any confirmed cases of COVID. We do have some students who have been quarantined because of exposures.”

Superintendent John Scioldo says they have plans in place but they haven’t had to use them all yet, “we have not had to contact trace at this point. All the exposures that we’ve had have been away from school and the quarantining is just because of that exposure.”

Students and parents also had the opportunity to ask questions, like an EVSC student named Lee who asked “How many cases will it take for us to go to a shutdown? Do the cases have to be within the school or is there a certain number in the area?”

EVSC Superintendent Dr. David Smith says there isn’t a definitive answer but it’s about cooperation with families and communities, “if the number of individuals that have to be quarantined reach a certain amount to where we have that threshold that we have to report to the Indiana Department of Health as well as the Vanderburgh County Health Department, about 20% absenteeism, then I think we would certainly seek advise of local officials in the Vanderburgh County Health Department to see if that is the tipping point.”

Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear also joined in the conversation. Earlier this week Kentucky’s first family had a scare and was tested for COVID-19 and came back negative.

“They asked us three questions. I said, ‘are you going to die?’ and I said, ‘no, no, I’m gonna be alright. I’m healthy.’ they said, ‘am I going to’ i said, ‘oh, no, no, no, no.’ they said, ‘who’s going to take care of us if you’re wrong?’ and so these decisions are so important to get right.”

Beshear says this scare is exactly why he has made the hard decision to ask districts to teach virtually until the end of September.

The entire back to school: New lessons special can be found here.

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(This story was originally published on Aug. 13, 2020)

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