Monroe County Community School Corporation had no confirmed cases of COVID-19 transmission at school in the fall semester, according to corporation and medical officials.
“While that is difficult to determine, we do not have confirmation of transmission in a classroom,” Kelby Turmail, MCCSC communications officer, wrote in an email last week.
IU Health pediatrician Dr. Jim Laughlin is part of the corporation’s Metric Committee that determines when to transition from in-person to virtual learning, and corroborated Turmail’s statement.
“We have had isolated cases of COVID that have occurred in a classroom, but we've had no secondary cases,” Dr. Laughlin said. “So basically what we're seeing is that there's been no transfer within a classroom in any of the schools, whether they're grade schools or high schools since school started – zero.”
IU epidemiologist and professor Ana Bento, who was named to a World Health Organization panel on reopening schools, agreed the schools’ setup was about as safe as in-person learning gets but was more guarded in her analysis.
“A lot of the cases in younger kids, they tend to be asymptomatic,” Bento said. “And we also know that they're not really testing every kid in school, certainly not every day. So given the rate of transmission in Indiana, particularly around where we live, a lot of cases probably were not identified.”
“As long as there’s people in classrooms and there’s still a high prevalence of COVID in the community, we are not eliminating risk by having 40 percent (of students online), we are decreasing risk of exposure,” Bento said.