ELKHART — One school district is shifting students in some buildings back to virtual-only learning due to absences related to the coronavirus.
Health officials, meanwhile, said the number of COVID-19 cases and infection rates in Elkhart County remain high and urged vigilance in efforts to stem the spread of the virus.
Concord Community Schools, which began transitioning to a more fully in-person model on Oct. 12, on Tuesday said it would shift students at three buildings to virtual-only learning until Monday, Nov. 2.
The impacted buildings are Concord Junior High School, Concord Intermediate School and Concord West Side Elementary. This decision was made due to the percentage of students in isolation or quarantine at these three buildings, district officials said.
At the junior high school, about 21 percent of students are in isolation or quarantining, the district said. At the intermediate school, about 10.7 percent are in isolation or quarantining. At the elementary school, about 10.6 percent are in isolation or quarantining.
All Concord schools are closed Wednesday, Oct. 21, due to virtual parent-teacher conferences. Schools are also closed Oct. 28-30 for fall break.
All buildings will reopen for in-person learning on Monday, Nov. 2. Students will resume in-person learning four days per week, with Fridays continuing as virtual learning days.
Health officials have expressed concern about rising COVID case numbers in the county as well as around the state.
On Tuesday, the Indiana State Department of Health reported 106 new cases in Elkhart County, all but two from Monday. The seven-day daily average number of new cases also was at 106, which is record territory for the county, reached previously over the weekend.
The seven-day average positivity rate among individuals tested in the county rose above 20 percent, a level not seen since April 16. Among all tests, the average infection rate was 10.3 percent, the highest since July 16.
No new coronavirus-related deaths were reported in the county, leaving the total at 132.
County health officer Dr. Lydia Mertz, in a news release Tuesday, said that while the number of COVID-19 cases in the county continues to rise, data shows the demographics of those infected has not changed.
“In fact, the demographics of the infection in this county have been fairly stable since the beginning,” Mertz said. “We continue to protect our elderly fairly well, while our younger generations are infected more often.”