Jordan Pyle, Editor

In the wake of COVID-19, Fayette County School Corporation has made efforts to keep students in school. In recent weeks, however, students and parents have criticized the school system and their efforts to keep COVID-19 at bay.

Fayette County has been at an all time high of COVID-19 cases and was classified as a red county, which means there was an increase in COVID-19 infection in the county. Despite the sudden rise of cases in the area, the schools remained open. This led Tallia Selby to start a petition.

Selby’s petition was designed to demonstrate how many people in the community supported the closing of Fayette County schools. Since she started the petition, almost 600 people have signed—a number that represents over half of the high school’s student body.

Among the people who signed the petition is Kaylee France, a senior at Connersville High School. France wholeheartedly supports the mission behind Selby’s petition and has encouraged others to sign. Her decision to support the petition was driven by her experiences in the community.

“Working in healthcare and seeing firsthand what this virus is doing to our older generations and then seeing our county leaders do nothing to slow the spread of it is heartbreaking for me. We should be doing everything in our power to keep ourselves and our families and our elders safe,” France said.

France believes that staying in school “just isn’t safe anymore.” However, there are concerns in the community about school shutting down.

“I’m scared I’m going to fail my college classes. I’m also really scared about the absence of seeing people. With the coronavirus and social distancing procedures, it’s a bit more difficult to see people and my stability and mental health very much depending on seeing people,” a junior at CHS stated.

As of Monday, November 11, CHS has implemented a hybrid learning plan until Thanksgiving break. The hybrid learning plan allows for only half of the student body to be on campus at any given time. The student body was split into two groups, one of which attends on Monday and Wednesday and the other on Tuesday and Thursday. Fridays are eLearning days for all CHS students. The petition had no bearing on this decision. 

Superintendent Scott Collins said, “According to the Indiana State Health Commissioner, Dr. Kris Box, she is not recommending that schools close unless attendance and staffing presents issues where schools cannot reasonably operate with normal schedules, or if there is an outbreak within a school.  CHS has been the only school to feel the impact with attendance, quarantines, and multiple positive cases during the last week.  For CHS, we had reached a point where we were experiencing a large number of absences due to illnesses or quarantines for both students and staff.”

The plans for how school will continue after Thanksgiving break are yet to be announced, and are subject to change based on how the county’s COVID-19 cases progress.