Vanderburgh County has a lot of company. Grim, grim company.
According to an analysis from The New York Times released Friday morning, schools in our area are among the thousands across the country who shouldn’t reopen for in-person instruction right now.
The database uses the rate of the coronavirus’ spread in the specific communities, as well as local testing capacity.
The analysis, put together by Times Opinion, found that 87% of counties in the U.S. shouldn’t restart schools in-person yet. Vanderburgh is among those.
All those schools, according to the Times, should stick to remote learning. It based those assertions on guidelines pushed by the Harvard Global Health Institute.
Diocese of Evansville schools opened their doors on Aug. 6, and Signature School started the day before that. The Evansville Vanderburgh School Corp. is set to launch a staggered opening on Wednesday.
COVID-19 cases have been ballooning in Vanderburgh County for several weeks now.
On Friday, we added 40 more. Horribly, the county also saw two additional coronavirus deaths on Wednesday, bringing our total to 15 thus far.
And our positivity rate remains well above what many health experts consider acceptable. It stood at 7% as of Friday.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Robert Redfield has said anywhere with a positivity rate higher than 5% is considered a hotspot and shouldn’t even consider reopening schools.
Even worse is our seven-day positivity rate — the closest thing we have to a snapshot of how the virus is currently barreling through the community. EVSC officials have said they are watching that number closely.
Though it’s waffled a bit, it’s largely hovered above 10% — more than two points higher than the state average. It remained at that level on Friday.
Other area counties didn’t fare any better in the Times’ analysis. Warrick, Posey, Gibson and Spencer were all deemed unsafe, as was Henderson County, Kentucky.
Warrick, Posey, Gibson and Spencer county schools have all reopened with a mix of in-person and virtual instruction. Henderson is scheduled to resume distance learning on Aug. 26.