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Indiana schools will no longer have to trace contacts, report cases

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — The Indiana Department of Health is easing guidelines on schools next week.

Beginning Wednesday, several changes go in effect:

  • Schools will not have to conduct contact tracing.
  • Schools will not have to report positive cases to the Department of Health.
  • Schools will have to quarantine students who are exposed to a positive COVID-19 case.
  • People who test positive can return after five days of isolation “if they have been fever-free for 24 hours without the use of medication so long as symptoms are improving.”

“These changes reflect the rapid decline in COVID-19 cases as we emerge from the omicron surge and the fact that all school-age children have been eligible to be vaccinated since November,” State Health Commissioner Dr. Kris Box said in a statement. “While they do not remove the need for continued vigilance, they will ease the reporting burden on schools and help ensure that children can stay in school.”

A spokesperson for Indianapolis Public Schools says a mask mandate for all students and staff will remain in place regardless of vaccination status. The school district is adhering to COVID-19 guidelines posted on its website.

A spokesperson for Carmel Clay Schools says it plans to follow the new guidance from the state Department of Health.

Noblesville Schools will also adopt most of the state’s new guidance and is already reporting positive COVID-19 cases to its own website.

Several other announcements were made Thursday:

  • Testing and vaccinations near Indianapolis Motor Speedway will end Feb. 26.
  • Testing and vaccination “strike teams” across the state are being suspended.
  • Support from the Indiana National Guard at hospitals and long-term care facilities will end March 14.