Journal Address

The state of Indiana should not have changed their social distancing guidelines for schools


In Issue 1, we, The Journal, expressed feelings of uncertainty about our safety at school during a global pandemic. We slowly became accustomed to and comfortable with school health guidelines, but now the state of Indiana has changed them.

Now, students will only be contact traced if they are three feet away or less from someone who tested positive and if masks were not worn properly or at all. The state has chosen to differ from the CDC, whose guidelines state that contact tracing occurs when a person is within six feet of someone who tests positive. We believe that this is a step in the wrong direction for the safety of students in Indiana and for the pandemic to dissipate in America as it has done in other countries.

This change seems odd, especially now considering numbers are still going up. On average, Indiana has about 2,000 new cases a day, according to The New York Times. When the rule was six feet, more people were contact traced, but most that were contact traced never actually contracted the coronavirus. If we change the rule to three feet, more people could get COVID-19 due to the closer proximity. The CDC recommends six feet, so why would three feet be just as effective? The six feet rule kept us feeling and being safe, and it has kept case numbers down, according to the CDC.

In-person learning is essential to some students, and contact tracing can take that away. But we, as a student body, also have to remember that being safe is better than being sorry. It’s better to stay and learn from home rather than wait until someone feels sick and spreads the virus to other students and some high-risk individuals.

In contrast, other states, such as Illinois, follow the CDC guidelines and have stuck to the six feet rule. Some states have even taken it a step further, such as Delaware who have a rule that six feet and only 10 minutes of exposure warrants the surrounding people to quarantine. According to Becker’s Hospital Review, a leading hospital magazine, Indiana already has a higher positivity rate than both of these states. And even when we had the six feet rule, some teachers and students didn’t enforce it then, so three feet could be even more dangerous.

The shift in contact tracing guidelines, in reality, could be a change for the worse, and, in our opinion, will only make cases rise and put students and faculty in Indiana schools at more of a risk than before. We hope that Indiana realizes this and goes back to the six feet rule to combat the spread of COVID-19 in the safest way possible.