Jeffersonville High School starts new year online, district goes in person next week

CLARK COUNTY, Ind. (WDRB) -- Jeffersonville High School changed its restart plan at the last minute after several teachers were forced to quarantine.

According to Dr. Eric Yazel of the Clark County Health Department, a Jeffersonville High School teacher tested positive for COVID-19, exposing at least four or five other teachers. 

Students at Jeffersonville High School will start the school year virtually on Wednesday, July 29, while the rest of Greater Clark County Schools begin in-person classes.

"It was a prudent decision to wait a week before we started in-person classes," Yazel said.

Jeffersonville High School students were told to plan for online learning through Aug. 4.

"We know that in all likelihood, we're going to have some positive cases in various buildings in all the schools across Kentuckiana, and how we navigate that is going to be a work in progress," Yazel said.

Yazel has been meeting with Greater Clark County Schools almost daily about what the new school year will look like.

"We have three very different communities," said Mark Laughner, superintendent of GCCS. "We have Jeffersonville, where there's probably more cases in Jeffersonville. We have Charlestown with not as many cases. And then we have New Washington, where there's even fewer cases. and we're going to have to treat each community a little different."

Greater Clark County Schools surveyed parents on how they wanted to start school. Sixty-eight percent of parents and students wanted to go in person. The others have the option to learn online.

One challenge is students can't socially distance on the school bus. Laughner said each student will get their temperature taken and have to wear a mask before getting on the bus. Buses will be cleaned before and after the school day.

"It has been hands down the most difficult start to the school year," Laughner sad.

Laughner said parents can help this ever-changing situation.

"We hope you self-monitor your child at home, whether it's the night before school, the morning of school, you are making sure you're taking their temperature," he said.

A state-sponsored testing site at Clarksville Community Center has recently doubled its testing capacity. Yazel said it's likely because more students and teachers are wanting a test before heading back to school. To make an appointment, call 888-634-1116 or click here. Appointments are available through the end of August. You don't have to have symptoms, and it's no cost to the patient. Patients must live or work in Indiana.

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