Listen Live

INDIANAPOLIS–It is still too early to determine whether fans will be allowed at the 60 plus games to be played in Indianapolis for the Division 1 NCAA men’s basketball tournament, in March. Mayor Joe Hogsett made that announcement as part of the same Thursday press conference where Marion County Public Health Officer Dr. Virginia Caine announced a new system to determine whether schools can stay open.

“Our behavior now determines our public health environment tomorrow,” said Hogsett. “So the steps that we collectively take today will help determine the safest public health environment possible when the tournament begins in March.”

Hogsett encouraged continued mask-wearing, distancing and hand washing.

Marion County Public Health Officer Dr. Virginia Caine said a goal of devising some new metrics is to never have to close all schools in Marion County again because of coronavirus, and to try and not have to close individual schools.

“Individual work, infection control and other issues that are current issues in your school determines whether any changes need to be made or people need to be concerned about that,” she said, noting that the infection rate among children in the county, is much less than with adults.

The formula compares the positivity rate in individual schools to the community positivity rate. If the school’s rate gets up higher than three quarters of the community positivity rate, then the Marion County Health Dept. can intervene and work with the schools to get the rate down.

But, closing the school is not the first option.

“It will all depend on an investigation related to what’s happening specifically in your school and what’s contributing to your cases.”

The Health Dept. is training school personnel to help make the mathematical determination and a new order requires reporting of all positive cases within 24 hours. It also requires the school to report whether the student is virtual or in school, if a student has coronavirus.