Western Wayne Schools is establishing new guidelines for social distancing and preventative measures and implementing an indoor mask mandate for all students and adults starting Friday, Aug. 27.

New Superintendent Andy Stover said the change is “an ongoing effort to ensure the health, safety, and education for the children at Western Wayne Schools.”

He said the guidelines can change the moment a decline of cases is seen within Western Wayne Elementary and Lincoln Middle/High School.
Stover said they want to ensure a proactive approach before the number of rising cases “impacts our learning environment.”

“We have worked diligently in maintaining a high level of safety for our children while successfully keeping each building open and fully operational,” Stover said, noting the schools must do “everything in our power to keep our students safe and within the halls of our buildings.”

“Ultimately, we hope to avoid the circumstances that other school districts in Indiana are currently facing,” he said.

Based on guidance from Wayne County Health Department and support from the WWS Board of Trustees, Stover said they believe “this is the best route to remain as normal as possible while keeping the best interest of our students in mind.”

Here are some additional updates:

*All students will have assigned seating for students while in classes, during lunch periods, and on district buses. Additional seating will be provided in lunchrooms to accommodate distancing, and all extra-curricular activities will be required to maintain attendance records daily.

*If excessive positive COVID cases can be linked to exposure within a school, that building will maintain a mandatory mask mandate.

*WWS will be open on an individual basis to discuss a virtual option with parents or guardians if there is ever a legitimate concern over the well-being, health or safety of their child. Those with questions or concerns are asked to contact their building principal. At-home learning will be an option during the 2021-22 school year, but the building-level administrator will decide whether to accept a request from the parent or guardian.

*One or both buildings could go to a virtual learning format if COVID-19 data prevents the district from having enough staff to operate school or causes a large number of students to be out because of quarantine.

*It’s required that all students always have a face covering with them at school in case their after-school transportation changes and they need to ride the bus home.


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Millicent Martin Emery is a reporter and editor for the Western Wayne News.