Holcomb backing schools on face mask mandates

(Supplied/Gov. Eric Holcomb)

INDIANAPOLIS (AP): Indiana’s governor gave his support Monday to the growing number of school districts across the state issuing mask mandates for students and staff as they try to head off more COVID-19 outbreaks.

Several of the state’s largest school districts in the Indianapolis area began requiring masks for indoor areas on Monday after starting the school year without such requirements, reacting to a growing number of COVID-19 infections among students as the more transmissible delta variant continues surging in the state.

Republican Gov. Eric Holcomb said he would continue his policy of allowing local officials to impose mask rules and other steps to stem the coronavirus spread even as several school boards have faced vocal — and sometimes misleading — opposition to such actions.

“I think the schools that are putting mask mandates into place are making a wise decision when the facts warrant it,” Holcomb said. “I’m not surprised by the pushback having lived through the last year and a half.”

Holcomb’s stance differs from that by Republican governors in Florida, Texas and other states that have issued statewide orders prohibiting mask-wearing mandates in schools.

In the past week week, 1,452 new COVID-19 cases were recorded among K-12 students in the state — four times more than the previous week, according to updated figures Monday from the Indiana Department of Health. An additional 80 teachers and 118 non-teaching staff also have tested positive for COVID-19 in the previous seven days, which is more than twice the number who tested positive the week before.

Statewide hospitalizations for COVID-19 have also continued growing to levels last seen in February. The state health department reported that Indiana hospitals were treating 1,462 virus patients as of Sunday — up by one-quarter from a week earlier and 380% of early July’s hospitalization level. Of those, 368 were intensive care unit patients.

Holcomb, who received a COVID-19 vaccination shot during a public event in March, said all of the 137 new COVID-19 patients in Indiana’s intensive care units last week were unvaccinated.

“I will go as so far as to say the only thing to fear about the vaccine is fear itself,” Holcomb said. “The numbers prove that it works.”

About 45% of Indiana residents are fully vaccinated against COVID-19, the 16th lowest rate among the states, according to the Centers for Disease Control.

Six large Indianapolis-area school districts — the Carmel, Hamilton Southeastern and Noblesville schools in Hamilton County and Lawrence Township, Washington Township and Pike Township districts in Marion County — began requiring masks on Monday. The Merrillville schools in northwestern Indiana’s Lake County will require masks when it resumes classes on Wednesday.

Indianapolis Public Schools, the state’s largest district, was among the first to announce last month that it would require masks for all staff and students, regardless of vaccination status. Fort Wayne Community Schools announced a mask mandate for all students, staff, and visitors inside FWCS buildings last week.

The Shenandoah school district, a rural district in eastern Indiana’s Henry County, began on Monday two weeks of online-only instructions because of a large number of COVID-19 infections. Another rural district in southern Indiana’s Scott County took the same action last week.

Hamilton Southeastern’s superintendent said the district had tracked 80 COVID-19 infections among students and more than 500 students had been notified as close contacts during the past two weeks.

“These changes are what we believe will keep our students learning in person in their classrooms,” Superintendent Yvonne Stokes said. “And that’s our goal.”

3 COMMENTS

  1. Of course he is. Parents should seek alternatives instead of committing their kids to tyrannical mandates. if you want to wear a mask then do so. But no American should be forced to do so or take the Darth Fauci vaccine.
    If 25% of parents would withdraw their kids from the Government Indoctrination Centers things would change real fast because the GIC’s wold lose too much money. Masks mandates don;t help. Where is the science that says it does? And it also allows busy body Karens to hound people. take care of your self and leave everyone to have the same choice.

  2. Holcomb has been a spineless dolt during this entire COVID hoax. Real leaders like Governors Desantis and Noem don’t crush citizen freedoms to appease Big Pharma ,the CDC, corrupt teachers unions, and the rest of the money grabbers. Has anyone seen the recent reports that children’s I.Q.s have dropped by 20 points or more since the start of this scamdemic and that wearing rags on your face all day is dangerous to your health ? Do you know that a virus can also easily enter your eyes…maybe Holcomb will force kids to also wear goggles. Pathetic !

  3. Nobody cares about Science….Real Science, not the “science” that Democrats (Including CDC and Indiana Dept. of Health) try to claim.

    Prime example: That Doctor from Fishers Indiana that went up in front of the School board…not only did he outline everything that was going on with this “Pandemic”, but also provided a flashdrive to the school board with research and sources.

    I watched the video of that doctor on YouTube, and 2 days later YouTube took the video down. Why would they do that… take down a Doctor that has treated 16 Covid patients and provided REAL SCIENCE? To any free thinker, the reason is obvious.

    Wake up People and tell these TYRANTS TO GO POUND SAND, This game is solely about control.

    FYI: I believe you can still watch that video on Ramble (Fishers Indiana School Board Doctor)

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