At the end of June, the Lafayette (Indiana) School Corporation sent parents its 2021-2022 school year COVID-19 plan. After a reasonable approach to 2020-2021, I’m disappointed with this plan. This plan seems to embrace the “pandemic’s over!” mentality. The pandemic, of course, is not over.
The pandemic is particularly not over for children under 12, who are not yet eligible for vaccines. LSC, being a K-12 school district, has roughly half of their students ineligible for vaccination. Thankfully, the effects on children have largely been minor-to-none, but there’s no guarantee that this will continue to be the case as new variants develop. In addition, students may live with adults who cannot get vaccinated or have compromised immune systems.
The district dropped the mask requirement on July 1, regardless of vaccination status. And vaccination is not required. I hope that changes when the vaccines receive full (not emergency use) approval from the FDA. I am not optimistic it will. Masks will still be required on buses.
The district says “Social Distancing will be a high priority.” But how? When ~20 percent of students were e-learning, this allowed for additional spacing. Now that all of the students will be back in the building, this is going to be very difficult. I doubt that the district has overhauled the ventilation systems in schools, and with no mask mandate, I expect we’ll see a lot more transmission in the schools.
An e-learning option will be available but only if a doctor says it’s “in the student’s best medical interest” and the school administration approves. This offends me. If a doctor makes a medical decision, who are the school administrators to say otherwise? I wouldn’t go to my kids’ pediatrician to override the curriculum.
The state legislature has been remarkably stupid in response to the pandemic. I suspect the school district is just trying to avoid the wrath of the legislators and Attorney General. Unfortunately, they’re doing it by giving up on any meaningful protection of the students.