September 15, 2021

Dear Parents/Guardians and Staff,

At the end of the summer, I did not believe I would be communicating this message again to our parents and community.  As you likely know, Hendricks County is currently on orange status this week as a result of the number of new cases and the percentage of cases that are positive for COVID.  Due to some concerning data, the Board of Education voted last night on my recommendation to adjust our current COVID plan.  The board plans on reviewing updated data in October and making adjustments as considered appropriate.  Beginning September 21, 2021 all individuals will be required to wear a mask inside any NWHSC facility during normal school hours and while traveling on school buses.  This decision was made after a thoughtful review of data, much conversation and discussion by the NWHSC Board of Education at our recent work session. Listed below are a few data points that are concerning as we look at the current situation:

  • NWHSC has currently had 68 positive cases of COVID since the beginning of school compared to only 5 at this same time last year.  

  • NWHSC has quarantined more than 4X the number of students this year compared to this same time last year.

  • As of Monday, HRH reports they have 13 of 14 ICU beds taken and they have gone into total diversion.  

  • The positivity rate in HC is currently 12.93% - up from 10.4% two weeks ago.

  • We are definitely seeing an uptick in cases for staff and students across the district.

  • NWHSC staff is starting to struggle with day to day focus on education with the amount of absences of staff and students.

  • NWHSC is working to find an adequate number of substitute teachers to fill absences.  

  • HRH is currently predicting a surge in cases over the next month that will exceed our worst numbers last winter.  

As part of this new COVID plan, NWHSC will only quarantine students who are symptomatic if identified as a close contact.  Quarantining only symptomatic students will apply to inside and outside of the classroom (i.e. lunch and extracurricular activities).  We ask parents to monitor your student closely daily, however, asymptomatic students will be allowed to continue in school.  Symptoms of COVID-19 include (most recent update from IDOH): Temperature 100.0 degrees Fahrenheit or higher when taken by mouth, sore throat, cough, especially new onset uncontrolled cough, or any cough causing shortness of breath or difficulty breathing (for students with chronic allergic/ asthmatic cough, a change in their cough from baseline), diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, or abdominal pain, new onset of se-vere headache, especially with a fever, new loss of taste or smell.  NOTE:  Any student who is currently under quarantine and is showing no signs of illness, may return to school immediately.    

I understand that this message will be received with mixed emotions.  I share many of those emotions with you.  We will continue to work towards keeping our students in school this year, safe and healthy, and avoid a need to move between in-person and AHL.  The board will review the situation in October and make any necessary adjustments at that time.  

Yours in Education,

Dr. Scott Syverson