As the 2020-2021 academic year draws to a close, I want to commend all of our faculty, staff, community, and, in a special way, our students for persevering through an unparalleled year in education. P-H-M has a reputation for excellence, and that excellence does not happen by accident. I am so proud of the determination, resilience, professionalism, and care exhibited by everyone in our “triangle of success” as they met the many challenges of this year.
I also write to provide updates to the communication I sent to the P-H-M community on May 18, 2021, indicating that the district would adopt an optional masking policy beginning June 7, 2021, pending any change or guidance from the state or local agencies.
Last Friday afternoon, May 28, 2021, Gov. Eric Holcomb extended the mask mandate in Indiana schools through June 30, 2021 with Executive Order 21-15. In response to the Governor’s Order, P-H-M will continue its current practice of requiring face coverings to be worn by everyone inside of its buildings, including vendors, contractors, volunteers, and visitors, through June 30, 2021. Gov. Holcomb’s order now allows for masks to be removed when outdoors on school property. In addition to masking, P-H-M will continue to emphasize the importance of hand hygiene, social distancing, and monitoring any symptoms common to COVID-19.
Changes to Mask and Quarantine Protocols
In observance of the Governor’s updated Executive Order, P-H-M’s masking requirements for summer school classrooms, indoor camps, indoor Summer Kids Club, outdoor camps, and outdoor extracurriculars and co-curricular activities have been revised and updated to the following for Summer 2021 (through June 30):
- Consistent with school year practice, P-H-M will require masking for all K-12 students and staff indoors through June 30.
- Per the Governor’s Order and to ensure continuity of student learning throughout summer school, quarantining rules and contact tracing are not required when exposure occurs in a classroom setting when students, teachers, and staff are wearing face coverings at all times in the classroom.
- Quarantining continues to apply to exposures which occur in non-classroom settings (i.e., at lunch, athletics, and other extracurricular or co-curricular activities).
- Masks are required for all students and staff while on a school bus or school-sponsored mode of transportation.
- Masks are not required for strenuous indoor activities or while outdoors on school grounds.
Executive Order 21-15 also strongly recommends and encourages that all Hoosiers, ages 12 years and above, receive a COVID-19 vaccination, which will be provided at no cost.
- There are over 800 locations where vaccinations are administered. Hoosiers can locate a vaccination site by calling 2-1-1 or visiting www.ourshot.in.gov. Walk-in appointments are accepted at most vaccination sites.
- Anyone younger than 18 years of age may only receive the Pfizer vaccine.
- “Fully vaccinated" Hoosiers are individuals who are two weeks past either a second dose of the Moderna or Pfizer vaccine or two weeks past receiving the single dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine.
Penn High School Commencement
Based on the size of the gathering and the updated guidelines listed above, P-H-M and the St. Joseph County Department of Health strongly recommends that masks be worn by graduates and their families for Penn High School’s outdoor Commencement at TCU Freed Field on Friday, June 4 (Rain Day: Sunday, June 6). Students will be socially distanced on the football field, and tickets will still be limited to four (4) per graduate family. Families will be encouraged to socially distance themselves in the stands.
Next School Year Updates Forthcoming
The Indiana State Department of Health is expected to release updated 2021-2022 school year guidelines and recommendations for Indiana private and public schools in the coming weeks. We will continue to monitor this guidance, consult with our local and state health agencies, and share what we learn.
Stay well and enjoy your summer,
Dr. Jerry Thacker
Superintendent of Schools