The Journal Gazette
Monday, January 03, 2022 10:18 pm

Local K-12 classes to resume amid rising COVID cases

ASHLEY SLOBODA | The Journal Gazette

Three Allen County school districts plan to welcome students back to classrooms Tuesday amid a COVID-19 surge that has pushed the average local daily case count past 400 for the first time since 2020.

"The timing as school resumes is concerning, and I would anticipate an impact on school operations," said Dr. Matthew Sutter, Allen County health commissioner.

Fort Wayne Community Schools, Northwest Allen County Schools and Southwest Allen County Schools resume lessons Tuesday. East Allen County Schools is scheduled to begin classes Wednesday.

Only FWCS is requiring masks, although the agenda for Tuesday's SACS board meeting was revised today to include a report and action on the return to classroom plan.

The NACS board – which decided in November not to mandate masks after winter break – is scheduled to meet Tuesday night in executive session, which is closed to the public. Masks could be addressed, district spokeswoman Lizette Downey said, "but I cannot say definitively if anything will change."

The return to school comes just days after Allen County recorded its two highest daily case counts. The 651 new infections reported Friday and the 636 reported Thursday topped the previous high of 613, which was set Nov. 14, 2020.

The local health department reported 218 new infections today, bringing totals to 77,140 cases and 952 deaths. The state reported 4,091 new diagnoses and no new fatalities.

Sutter cited the county's recent record highs and the average daily case count when discussing the end of winter break. He said the health department encourages the "common-sense" practices of masking, social distancing, frequent handwashing and vaccination to reduce the spread of disease.

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