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IPS elementary school quarantines dozens of students after staff member is exposed to COVID-19

Sixty-one students at Lew Wallace Elementary are now quarantined and taking online classes.

INDIANAPOLIS — Classes at IPS Lew Wallace Elementary just started on Monday. One day later, a staff member tested positive for COVID-19.

Now, 61 fourth graders are quarantined, doing e-learning from home for the next two weeks.

“The only thing I know about COVID, it’s serious,” said dad Kevin Blue. 

And that’s all he and his wife Adriana need to know to be OK with the quarantine of some students announced Wednesday because of COVID exposure. 

“If that’s what they did, if that’s what they’re doing, I applaud their efforts because it could have went unheeded or unchecked,” said Blue. 

Instead, dozens of fourth graders will stay home but continue classes online. 

The Blues say so far, their three kids - two boys and a girl - who go to Lew Wallace aren’t affected. 

IPS students are required to wear masks to school, something the Blues say their kids are used to by now. 

“It’s like second nature to them. They put on their shirt. They put on their mask too, because it’s just one of those things,” Blue said. 

So is rolling with the changes and challenges COVID has brought to everyone, including parents, who had to juggle work and e-learning during the pandemic. 

“Luckily, we have employers that are nice and understanding because everybody is affected, so it’s not like it’s just something our family’s going through. Everybody’s going through it,” Blue added. 

And for the Blues and parents like them, it’s been more than year of uncertainty about what tomorrow would bring.   

Their response has been to close ranks and protect their kids, now more than ever. 

“So many different dangers and terrors that, as a parent nowadays, you really just got to keep your arms around them. That’s what we do,” said Blue. 

As kids head back to school and the delta variant continues to spread, hospitals are also seeing an increase in cases among young children. 

According to the American Academy of Pediatrics and the Children's Hospital Association, nearly 72,000 new pediatric cases were reported last week. That’s compared to roughly 39,000 cases reported the week before, which is 84 percent jump. 

AAP called it “substantial.” 

Right now, kids 12 and under don’t qualify for the vaccine. In Indiana, about 22 percent of teens age 12-15 are vaccinated and 35 percent for those age 16-19. 

As of late July, about 4.2 million children tested positive for COVID. Children and teens now represent 19 percent of reported cases, but experts say the number of hospitalizations remains low.  

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