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EVSC remains undecided, Evansville Catholic schools release plans for upcoming school year

Published: Jul. 12, 2021 at 10:38 AM CDT|Updated: Jul. 12, 2021 at 1:20 PM CDT
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EVANSVILLE, Ind. (WFIE) - The Diocese of Evansville is sharing plans for the upcoming school year, including details on COVID-19 guidelines.

Superintendent of Schools Dr. Daryl Hagan said Catholic schools will open on-time again for 2021-2022 and have in-person instruction five days a week.

There are 26 Catholic schools across eight of the diocese’s 12 counties.

Dr. Hagan says COVID-19 health and safety guidelines are subject to change as the CDC and other expert guidance changes.

“While protocols are changing and evolving,” says Dr. Hagan, “I am confident that if we continue to work collaboratively, we can continue to experience the same level of success as we did last year.”

The guidelines include:

· Vaccinations are not mandated.

· Masks for students, staff and volunteers are optional. However, students who are transported to and/or from school utilizing school buses will be required to wear a mask by federal guidelines.

· Social distancing protocols will not be required.

The guidelines and other reopening plans comply with the State of Indiana Executive Order 21-17.

“We felt that for faith-based Catholic schools,” says Dr. Hagan, “in-person learning was best, which is why we started on-time and in the building last year. I would ask that any parent, like they did last year, if they have students with special needs, that they contact their principal, and we can work on maybe an individualized plan.”

Dr. Hagan strongly encouraged families to continue following recommended preventive measures to reduce the spread of germs and stay healthy.

He stressed that daily health screenings completed at home before sending students to school and routine handwashing are important habits to continue in the new school year.

Dr. Hagan says there are just the minimum requirements for schools. He says individual schools and teachers can implement more strict rules on their own.

“Absolutely,” says Dr. Hagan. “They are certainly welcomed to have more strict guidelines as well.”

You can see the full news conference here:

The Evansville-Vanderburgh School Corporation Board held a regular meeting in the hours after this announcement.

Parents and caretakers showed up with signs in hopes of learning its plans.

During the meeting, Superintendent Dr. David Smith explained that school leaders are waiting roughly 10 to 14 days after the July 4th holiday because of a concern of new COVID-19 cases. He hopes the body can update the opening plan once they continue to analyze data.

Multiple outbursts were heard coming from the crowd at the conclusion of the meeting.

“It is not fair for you to keep pushing this off,” one attendee shouted. “We want to know what the EVSC is going to do about the masks and the vaccines.”

These remarks were largely ignored by board members as they left the room. Dr. Smith did stop to talk to a small group of women on his way out.

EVSC’s new academic year begins the second week of August.

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