Indiana schools get incentive to require classroom masks


INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Indiana schools are getting an incentive toward requiring face masks in classrooms intended to slow down the number of COVID-19 outbreaks among students around the state.

Gov. Eric Holcomb issued a new statewide executive order Wednesday that will ease quarantine requirements for students if all children and adults in the school were wearing masks throughout the day. The revised order comes as many Indiana schools have seen COVID-19 outbreaks and the state’s vaccination rate remains stubbornly low.

The Crown Point school district joined many others across the state Wednesday in requiring students and teachers to wear face masks after more than 50 confirmed COVID-19 infections and nearly 900 students out of school on quarantines during the first two weeks of classes.

The coronavirus risk ratings updated weekly by the state health department put 13 of Indiana’s 92 counties in highest-risk red category, with 75 counties with the next-highest orange rating. Only four counties were in the lower-level yellow category.

Holcomb said the COVID-19 spread in Indiana was avoidable.

“To the skeptics or unbelievers or deniers, I would just plead to look at the facts, to look at the numerical data that shows we can all stay safe if you get vaccinated,” Holcomb said.

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