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School leaders urge caution over Thanksgiving break

Schools across Tippecanoe County will reopen for in-person instruction next week after moving to remote learning this month as COVID-19 cases and quarantines continued to rise.

Posted: Nov 24, 2020 3:42 PM
Updated: Nov 24, 2020 6:25 PM

TIPPECANOE COUNTY, Ind. (WLFI) - School leaders are urging families to remain vigilant with COVID-19 precautions over Thanksgiving break.

Schools across Tippecanoe County will reopen for in-person instruction next week after moving to remote learning this month as COVID-19 cases and quarantines continued to rise.

As News 18 previously reported, Jeff High School moved to remote learning last week following a two-week outbreak when positive cases doubled across the district.

West Lafayette Intermediate School also moved to e-learning for two days this week, while Tippecanoe School Corpo. ceased all in-person instruction earlier this month.

Lafayette School Corp. Superintendent Les Huddle says a third of students at Jeff High School were quarantined after the recent outbreak.

"It just came to the point of no academic return," he says. "It came best to, let's go to e-learning, give everybody their quarantine window and then get everybody back after Thanksgiving break."

Sunnyside Intermediate Principal Matthew Brown is confident classrooms will remain open for the rest of the year.

"We've got a very positive outlook that we'll still be here in the coming weeks," he says.

Brown is encouraging his students to remain responsible and safe, which he calls the Broncho way.

"We still want you to follow the Broncho way when you're outside of school and when you're with family and friends and out in the community and out in public," he says. "Our expectations are that our kids live that way and we feel like that's going to help keep them safe."

West Lafayette Elementary Principal Amber Targgart is urging caution so the school's doors can remain open.

"I just ask that we continue to do what we've been doing up until this point in the school year, is be grateful to be together, yet make wise decisions so that we are all able to come back safe and healthy to finish out this semester," she says.

Targgart says now is the time to be thankful to students and staff for getting this far.

"It's thanks to everybody who's been involved," she says. "It's bus drivers and food service and custodial staff. I couldn't mention everybody but it's just been a great opportunity, this a great opportunity to say thank you and continued thanks as we keep going forward."

About 300 students across local school districts have tested positive for COVID-19.

Shortages of staff like bus drivers and substitute teachers due to quarantine are points of concern, especially after Tippecanoe School Corp. welcomes back students as planned next week.

Huddle says the district will begin certifying paraprofessionals to become substitute teachers. Targgart says West Lafayette Elementary is already leaning on ancillary staff to substitute when needed.

Tippecanoe School Corp. sent a letter to parents Tuesday stating the district is expediting the substitute hiring process, waived the standard background check fee and expanded employment opportunities for staff to work multiple positions.

The district has hired an additional 36 substitute teachers and 37 additional staff in areas such as transportation, food service and custodial services. 

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Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 665285

Reported Deaths: 12697
CountyCasesDeaths
Marion910581653
Lake48637887
Allen36050641
Hamilton32231398
St. Joseph30243514
Elkhart25484420
Vanderburgh21315382
Tippecanoe20185205
Johnson16425361
Porter16053276
Hendricks15899301
Clark12032182
Madison11779321
Vigo11672231
Monroe10394164
Delaware9879179
LaPorte9821198
Howard9095199
Kosciusko8588111
Bartholomew7504147
Warrick7445153
Hancock7439134
Floyd7255172
Wayne6654192
Grant6453157
Boone611991
Morgan6118126
Dubois5933112
Dearborn550669
Cass5477100
Marshall5446105
Henry542695
Noble510978
Jackson465567
Shelby462591
Lawrence4193113
Gibson404985
Harrison402764
Clinton397053
Montgomery390584
DeKalb387178
Knox357885
Miami357863
Whitley350638
Huntington348377
Steuben339855
Wabash333076
Putnam331960
Ripley327862
Adams325149
Jasper318443
White298052
Jefferson295974
Daviess285696
Fayette272656
Decatur271388
Greene262280
Posey261432
Wells258975
Scott251450
LaGrange242170
Clay241444
Randolph225877
Spencer219330
Jennings216344
Washington213027
Sullivan203639
Fountain202542
Starke189251
Owen183453
Fulton179637
Jay178528
Carroll176919
Perry173836
Orange171351
Rush165422
Vermillion161542
Franklin159735
Tipton149241
Parke140116
Pike128433
Blackford120627
Pulaski107544
Newton96732
Brown95240
Benton92413
Crawford92113
Martin80314
Warren75914
Switzerland7558
Union67510
Ohio54111
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