As COVID cases rise, board left to decide


Avi Sarkar

After COVID-19 cases rose, the Washington Township School Board decided to shut down the district for the remainder of November and December. Now the district has returned to hybrid learning where students attend classes two days out of the week and attend at half capacity by last name. 


The school board, after a discussion on January 13, was not satisfied with the Marion County Health Department guidelines for COVID-19. On January 16, the board wanted to go over the new guidelines of COVID-19. The board wanted facts on how the township would respond to COVID-19 when students and teachers are infected.


The board wanted to know how the Marion County Health Department would help Washington Township schools. In the January 13 meeting, the Marion County Health Department (MCHD) guidelines with MSDWT schools were very vague. An example of the MCHD guideline on the 13 meeting was, if the school were in the orange and red zone the MCHD would contact the school.


The board was not satisfied with the lack of help from the department. On January 16 the guidance is not just contacting but working with the schools. The help will be to see where the positive cases came from and what schools have the virus.


When it comes to cases on January 13, the board was outraged that the MCHD because the health department would not do much. As an example by Don Kite school when community cases rose and the school was right behind, the MCHD would again contact the school. On January 16, the board was assured a new way to know case rates in the community. The board found that the positivity rate on individual schools is better than the community positive rate. The board announced they would go on case rate and not positivity rate.


The board will get a report on cases every Friday. These reports will show the board how the school is doing with case rates during the hybrid model of learning.


Michell Berry, chemistry teacher and AVID teacher, is in her third year of teaching at NCl. Just like Berry many teachers have had to change, “ Just like my students I have to adapt from all virtual to now hybrid,” Berry said.  Many students had failing grades last semester and changes are looking to happen, “ Academic performance should look like last semester, whether you are in person or virtual and no excuse,” Berry said.


Senior Aaron Rembert’s last semester was all virtual. “The main reason is to protect my parents as they hold huge tolls at their schools and can’t afford to get sick and shut down,” Rembert said.


Many students chose virtual over in person because of staying at home, “ Virtual learning has a wider ray of tools to help students and it is somewhat easier to do homework because you know where your homework is,” Rembert said. 


The number of students coming back to school has decreased because students choosing not to show up, “ I did want to come back. Mostly for my senior year to see my friends and to study at NC for the last time. The only reason I went back was that my parents work at another school and I don’t want them to be infected because of me,” Rembert said.