The Journal Gazette
Monday, October 12, 2020 1:00 am

NACS school closes to students

Remote learning instituted after rise in COVID cases

ASHLEY SLOBODA | The Journal Gazette

An influx of COVID-19 cases at a Northwest Allen County middle school is prompting a week of remote learning for that building, the district announced Sunday evening.

Maple Creek Middle School's extracurricular and after-school activities also are canceled, but they could be rescheduled as early as the week of Oct. 19, the district said.

Teachers will work on-site this week, the district said, and custodial staff will thoroughly clean the school.

The pivot from in-person classes followed an increase of confirmed COVID-19 cases at Maple Creek in the past two weeks, the district said.

“Because of the number of students being quarantined at the moment, and because of the number of confirmed cases during such a short period of time, we are taking extra steps to help keep our students safe and on track,” Principal Bill Toler said in a statement.

The COVID-19 cases include students in each grade level and appear to have originated from a variety of sources, the district said.

The number of confirmed cases at Maple Creek – which enrolled about 900 students in grades 6-8 last academic year – represents about 1% of the school's on-site student population, the district said. The district has said about 86% of NACS students opted for on-site instruction this year.

The state's school coronavirus dashboard Sunday showed Maple Creek had fewer than five student cases as of Oct. 2.

Although the school virus dashboard is updated weekly on Mondays, the state provides daily coronavirus totals. Sunday, the number of new COVID-19 cases in Indiana dipped following days of record-breaking highs.

But the 1,579 additional cases reported by the Indiana State Department of Health marked the fifth consecutive day that new cases topped 1,000 and the third consecutive day they exceeded 1,500.

In Allen County, one-day totals continued to decline from Friday's high of 93 cases. The Allen County Department of Health reported 87 additional coronavirus cases Sunday, down by two from Saturday.

Seven more Hoosiers have died from COVID-19, bringing the statewide death toll to 3,562 on Sunday, state health officials said. Allen County's fatalities remained at 209.

As of Sunday, more than 900 schools statewide have reported almost 2,000 coronavirus cases among students and 853 cases among teachers and staff.

Allen County schools implemented social distancing and mask guidelines this fall.

Toler commended those at Maple Creek for following the new rules. NACS began the school year Aug. 12.

“Students and teachers have done a great job wearing their masks and following the protocols that have been put into place,” Toler said, “and this has contributed to the many weeks of school that we have already completed with little disruption.”

North Adams Community Schools is also suspending all on-campus learning for a week, after reviewing new virus data, the district posted to its website Sunday. Starting today, all students in kindergarten through 12th grade will move to eLearning.

There will also be no preschool classes or Headstart programs on campus. The eLearning will run through Oct. 16, the district said.

At a glance

Cases in area counties as of Sunday, according to the Indiana State Department of Health's Coronavirus Dashboard:

County New cases Total cases Deaths

Noble 6 1,002 33

DeKalb 8 592 11

Whitley 6 364 6

Huntington 6 324 4

Wells 7 330 211

Adams 4 363 4

LaGrange 8 712 12

Steuben 17 501 9

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