Dozens of Anderson students forced to quarantine days after school resumes

ANDERSON, Ind. (WISH) — Dozens of students are home from school in the Anderson Community Schools district after 11 kids tested positive for COVID-19.

Classes have been back in session for less than a week, but six classrooms from four different schools have been forced to quarantine. The schools under quarantine are Tenth Street Elementary School, Anderson Intermediate School, Valley Grove Elementary School and Eastside Elementary School.

District leaders said masks are optional at Anderson schools and, so far, no plans are being made to change that policy.

Brad Meadows, the district’s director for district and community engagement, said Monday that the spike in cases is similar to what the district saw in the 2020-21 session.

“The number of cases is relatively low. We’re doing this out of an abundance of caution to make sure the virus is not being spread in our building,” Meadows said.

He said the plan in place to keep students and staff safe requires classrooms for kindergarten through Grade 6 to quarantine if there is a close contact. Meadows said those students are mostly contained to one room; in intermediate and high school, kids are constantly moving.

“We do contact tracing and see who their close contacts have been so we are not required to quarantine an entire class like we do at the elementary school levels, but some of those 11 cases have been at the high school,” Meadows said.

While the schools don’t have a mask requirement, Meadows said, the district strongly recommends them, especially for students younger than 12 who can’t yet get vaccinated.

He said Anderson schools have also advocated for the vaccine by holding clinics and giving staff a $150 stipend to get the shot.

“We’ve put these mitigation efforts in place just to make sure that there isn’t a spread and that we can continue to have in-person learning for those buildings and those classrooms that weren’t impacted,” Meadows said.

News 8 also reached out to the the Madison County Health Department about the positive cases. A spokesperson said, “MCHD has not heard from Anderson schools regarding this particular quarantine situation.”