Elkhart schools was the first in the area to say it won't offer a full-time, in-person instructional option for students this fall because of the coronavirus pandemic. Now, the county health officer is recommending that districts resume in-person instruction. South Bend 
Tribune File Photo/SANTIAGO FLORES
Elkhart schools was the first in the area to say it won't offer a full-time, in-person instructional option for students this fall because of the coronavirus pandemic. Now, the county health officer is recommending that districts resume in-person instruction. South Bend Tribune File Photo/SANTIAGO FLORES
ELKHART — Despite the county being a coronavirus “hot spot,” the Elkhart County health officer is recommending that K-12 students go back to school for in-person learning this fall.

In a release issued Friday morning, Dr. Lydia Mertz said over the last week, the county has seen the positivity rate start to decline and that the hospitals capacities, testing and contract tracing are being continuously monitored.

“Because of this control of the spread of the virus, and the work the schools have done, I recommend they open for in-person instruction as they have planned,” Mertz said. “The mitigation measures they have put in place are designed to make schools as safe as possible.”

There has been 4,521 positive COVID-19 cases and 76 deaths in Elkhart County, according to Indiana State Health Department data released Friday. More than 33,850 people have been tested for the virus. The seven-day positivity rate, as of July 24, is at 5.8%.

Mertz acknowledged that “there remains a small risk,” but said the “advantages of in-person instruction outweigh that small risk at this time.”
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