Many people came out to Monday’s New Albany-Floyd County Schools meeting expressing opposition to the district’s COVID-19 policies regarding masking in schools.

SOUTHERN INDIANA — Starting Thursday, students and staff within the New Albany Floyd County Consolidated School Corporation (NAFCS) will be required to wear masks, following the county's elevation to orange on the state department of health COVID-19 map.

Floyd County Health Officer Dr. Tom Harris confirmed Tuesday that he received word that the county is now orange, a day ahead of its official change on the state website. The map, which tracks the seven-day positivity rate and number of new weekly cases per 100,000 residents, is updated every Wednesday. Clark County Health Officer Dr. Eric Yazel confirmed Tuesday that the Clark County remains orange for now, as it has been for several weeks. 

In an update Sunday to the NAFCS website, Superintendent Brad Snyder announced that if the county was elevated to orange, masks would be required in schools. Greater Clark County Schools announced over the weekend that masks would be required starting Monday, as at that time more than 1,100 students were currently quarantining due to COVID-19. 

On Monday, dozens turned out for the NAFCS school board meeting to express opposition to the updated mask policy, with more than an hour of public comment. 

Although recent legislation gives elected officials the final say in mandates such as masking or other COVID-19 mitigation rather than health officials, Harris said that he's looking at a phased response to the rise in cases as it pertains to the wider community, not just schools. He said that as they continue to rise, "the next phase of the response would be strongly recommending a return to use of masks while in public places indoors," he said. 

The Indiana Department of Health reported Tuesday a total of 92 new COVID-19 cases reported between Clark County and Floyd County — 64 in Clark and 28 in Floyd. 

The seven-day positive rate for unique individuals in Clark County is 23.7%, with the seven-day rate for all tests at 13.1%. In Floyd County, the seven-day positivity for unique individuals is 16.6% and a seven-day rate for all tests of 9.6%. 

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