BCSC still in overall moderate spread category

Despite having most of its COVID-19 indicators in the “green,” Bartholomew Consolidated School Corp. will continue to operate under a “moderate spread” designation.

The COVID-19 indicators are intended to guide BCSC on deciding whether or not schools can continue to meet for in-person learning, which began Aug. 10.

Whether or not in-person learning continues at BCSC depends on whether certain COVID-19 data indicates that the school system is in a “minimal,” “moderate” or “substantial” spread category. Superintendent Jim Roberts has said in the past that an overall designation of substantial spread would result in a move to eLearning.

On Monday, the COVID-19 Community Task Force posted the following data on its community spread dashboard:

There are two new positive cases, and the number is decreasing (as of Sept. 20)

The per capita positive rate is 4.4 and decreasing (as of Sept. 20)

The percent positive test rate is 5.2% and increasing (as of Sept. 16)

There are three COVID hospitalizations, and the number is holding steady (as of Sept. 20)

Test turnaround time is 2.7 days and the number is increasing (as of Sept. 16)

Per capita rate, percent positive test rate, hospitalizations and test turnaround time are all in the minimal spread category. If test turnaround continues to increase and reaches three to five days, it will be in the moderate spread category. If percent positive test rate rises to between 10-15%, it will be in the moderate spread category as well.

With the exception of the per capita positive rate trend, which is increasing and therefore in moderate spread, all COVID-19 indicators are currently in the minimal spread or “green” category.

Roberts said at BCSC’s Sept. 14 school board meeting that having all indicators in the minimal spread category wouldn’t necessarily indicate that the school system is in an overall minimal spread designation.

“You can’t just flip a switch and move from one of these to the others, otherwise we would immediately drop, in the green, to a traditional environment with one remote option and not be doing everything that we’re doing,” he said. “And although we’d be implementing preventative practices, we’d be resuming all of our standard operating procedures as a school corporation. … That’s not what we’re going to do.”

He added that, for the time being, the school system would remain in an overall “moderate spread” designation.

Roberts also said that the level of community spread is determined by local health officials, whereas the instructional model for BCSC schools is determined by the school corp. Both parties are involved in determining the response to COVID-19 spread.

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The COVID-19 Community Task Force posts updates on community spread every Monday and Thursday at covid19communitytaskforce.org/data/.