Coronoavirus (COVID-19)

March 27, 2020

Elkhart Community Schools Reports Positive COVID-19 Case in Administrative Offices

Today, Elkhart Community Schools received notification of a staff member in the J.C. Rice Educational Service Center testing positive for COVID-19. ECS staff has been notified. Due to the work position of the individual, there is no risk to students or staff in school buildings. The district has not received any reports of other staff members experiencing illnesses with symptoms resembling those of COVID-19. 

“I’m thankful for the proactive messaging of our district to encourage employees to stay home if they are sick, and the proactive measures put in place by our Board of School Trustees to provide emergency leave and the opportunity to work from home,” said Steve Thalheimer, superintendent of schools, Elkhart Community Schools. “Due to these proactive measures, our employee observed the guidance provided by the district and isolated once symptoms appeared.” 

“As testing becomes more readily available in our area and across the country, it’s highly likely that others in the community, and possibly our district will test positive for the virus in the future,” said Thalheimer. “Unfortunately, the virus has reached Elkhart and our surrounding cities, and as one of the largest employers in the county, we were at risk to have a positive case at some point. Ultimately, I am thankful that the individual had no contact with students during their job-related duties, and also observed the guidance of the district and the CDC to stay home to help reduce spread in our administrative offices.”


27 de marzo de 2020

Las Escuelas de la Comunidad de Elkhart Reportan un Caso Positivo de COVID-19 en las Oficinas Administrativas

Hoy, las Escuelas de la Comunidad de Elkhart recibieron aviso que un miembro del personal en el Centro de Servicio Educativo J.C. Rice dio positivo por COVID-19. Le comunicamos la información al personal de ECS. Debido a la posición de trabajo del individuo, no hay riesgo a los estudiantes o el personal en los edificios escolares. El distrito no ha recibido ningún informe que otros miembros del personal han tenido síntomas similares a los de COVID-19.

“Estoy agradecido por los mensajes preventivos de nuestro distrito animándole a los empleados que se queden en casa si estaban enfermos y las medidas preventivas implementadas por nuestra Junta Directiva Escolar proporcionándoles permisos de emergencia y oportunidades para trabajar desde sus hogares”, dijo Steve Thalheimer, Superintendente de las Escuelas de la Comunidad de Elkhart. “Debido a estas medidas preventivas, nuestro miembro del personal siguió la orientación proporcionada por el distrito y se aisló una vez que aparecieron los síntomas”.

“A medida que más pruebas estén disponibles en nuestra área y en todo el país, es posible que otros miembros de la comunidad y posiblemente nuestro distrito, den positivo por el virus”, dijo Thalheimer. “Desafortunadamente, el virus ha llegado a Elkhart y nuestras ciudades cercanas y como uno de los empleadores más grandes del condado, estábamos en riesgo de tener un caso positivo en cualquier momento”. Estoy agradecido que el individuo no tuvo contacto con los estudiantes durante sus tareas relacionadas con el trabajo y que siguió la orientación del distrito, del CDC y que se quedo en casa para ayudar a disminuir la propagación en nuestras oficinas administrativas.”


Thursday, March 19, 2020

Elkhart Community Schools Families:

Please see the following message from Superintendent Steve Thalheimer with additional information below the video.

Based on Governor Holcomb’s declaration today, all Indiana schools will be closed through May 1, with a date to tentatively reopen on May 4. Elkhart Community Schools had already used Monday, March 16, to prepare for eLearning by making sure materials came home with students at the end of the final student day before spring break. The district then took the next two days to provide teacher training on eLearning tools and to provide teachers and teacher teams time to develop lessons. Elkhart Schools is now ready to follow the governor’s guidance.

During this week’s planning, teaching staff, administrators, and trainers have all recommended that in moving forward with eLearning the district should follow an alternating plan for instruction to be most effective. The State of Indiana has provided schools a waiver from 20 instructional days. This means that instead of 180 days of school being in session, schools only need to have 160 instructional days. Teachers are contracted for 184 days by the district. Going to an alternating schedule allows teachers time to look at student work from the previous day, plan for the next day, and take the day where there are no learning expectations to check on students who may not be completing activities or checking in. This provides time for teachers to engage in team planning and professional learning. Also, alternating days provides families and those providing care for students during the day a more manageable schedule for learning from home.

For the weeks prior to and through May 1, Elkhart Schools will follow the schedule below:

Month Date Schedule
March 20 eLearning day for students
March 21 weekend
March 22 weekend
March 23 eLearning day for students
March 24 In-service waiver day for staff to work/check in with students
March 25 eLearning day for students
March 26 In-service waiver day for staff to work/check in with students
March 27 eLearning day for students
March 28 weekend
March 29 weekend
March 30 eLearning day for students
March 31 In-service waiver day for staff to work/check in with students
April 1 eLearning day for students
April 2 In-service waiver day for staff to work/check in with students
April 3 eLearning day for students
April 4 weekend
April 5 weekend
April 6 spring break vacation
April 7 spring break vacation
April 8 spring break vacation
April 9 spring break vacation
April 10 spring break vacation
April 11 weekend
April 12 weekend
April 13 eLearning day for students
April 14 In-service waiver day for staff to work/check in with students
April 15 eLearning day for students
April 16 In-service waiver day for staff to work/check in with students
April 17 eLearning day for students
April 18 weekend
April 19 weekend
April 20 eLearning day for students
April 21 In-service waiver day for staff to work/check in with students
April 22 eLearning day for students
April 23 In-service waiver day for staff to work/check in with students
April 24 eLearning day for students
April 25 weekend
April 26 weekend
April 27 eLearning day for students
April 28 In-service waiver day for staff to work/check in with students
April 29 eLearning day for students
April 30 In-service waiver day for staff to work/check in with students
May 1 eLearning day for students
May 2 weekend
May 3 weekend

Additionally, during today’s press conference, it was announced that numerous K-12 state tests are cancelled. Please see the following memo for parents from the Indiana Department of Education (click to enlarge):

Letter from IDOE about testing

IDOE Testing Notice - Spanish


Monday, March 16, 2020

The following site has been established to help our parents/guardians and students navigate eLearning, as well as find resources for WiFi, Food Services, and other needs. This site will continue to be updated over the next few days/weeks.…/response-to-coronavirus

As a reminder, students will not attend school on Tuesday, March 17 and Wednesday, March 18. Staff will be working hard on developing eLearning resources for our students. eLearning will begin on Thursday, March 19. Additional information about accessing assignments and communication will be coming and posted to the eLearning website.

We appreciate your patience and partnership as we all work together to continue the important task of educating our community’s children to the best of our ability.

E-Learning Banner

Las Escuelas de la Comunidad están CERRADAS.

Hasta nuevo aviso, las familias de ECS deben utilizar los recursos de Aprendizaje Electrónico que se encuentran aquí (haga clic en la imagen) para el aprendizaje diario y comunicación con los maestros de ECS.

El enlace también incluye recursos para ayuda con WiFi, comida y otras necesidades, así como información para el personal durante el cierre.

Más información estará disponible. 

Saturday, March 14, 2020

To the Students, Families and Educators of Elkhart Community Schools:

Throughout the coronavirus outbreak, the school corporations in Elkhart County have followed guidance from the state and local health departments as well as the Centers for Disease Control. We have heeded the advice of our professional education organizations. Over the past week, however, states bordering Indiana and neighboring communities have closed due to community spread. Additionally, national experts like Dr. Anthony Fauci, Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, acknowledge that testing is not at the pace it needs to be to detect the true spread of COVID-19. Advice regarding what to do has been mixed, so the leadership of Elkhart Schools is deciding to act out of caution. 

For the safety of our students and staff, Elkhart Community Schools will close all schools on Tuesday, March 17, through the period of spring break. Schools will resume tentatively on Monday, April 13. 

We understand for their own individual reasons that families may choose to not send their children to school on Monday, March 16. That is certainly a parent or guardian’s right. If a student does not attend Monday, we simply ask that parents make arrangements at the end of the day or over the next two days to pick up the student’s learning materials for eLearning starting on March 19.

For Elkhart Community Schools, this activates the following schedule:

  • Monday, March 16: a normal school day with normal early release for students; students will practice eLearning activities and leave school Monday afternoon with all the learning materials they need for sustained eLearning from home.
  • Tuesday, March 17: SCHOOL WILL BE CLOSED FOR STUDENTS WITH NO ELEARNING; STAFF WILL REPORT. This will be a waived instructional day from the Indiana Department of Education used as an in-service day for teachers to prepare for eLearning.
  • Wednesday, March 18: SCHOOL WILL BE CLOSED FOR STUDENTS WITH NO ELEARNING; STAFF WILL REPORT. This will be a second waived instructional day from the Indiana Department of Education used as an in-service day for teachers to prepare for eLearning.
  • Thursday, March 19 through Friday, April 3: ELearning for students
  • Monday, April 6 through Friday, April 10: Spring Break
  • Monday, April 13: tentative date to return to school

We understand the disruption this causes to our greater communities of Elkhart and Bristol, and we did not arrive at this decision lightly. However, at this time, caution and care override every other concern.

sábado 14 de marzo de 2020

Estudiantes, Familias y Educadores en las Escuelas de la Comunidad de Elkhart:

Durante el brote del coronavirus, las corporaciones escolares en el Condado de Elkhart han seguido la orientación de los departamentos de salud estatales y locales, así como de los Centros para el Control de Enfermedades. Hemos seguido los consejos de nuestras organizaciones de educación profesional. La semana pasada, los estados que bordean Indiana y las comunidades vecinas han cerrado debido a la propagación en las comunidades. Además, los expertos nacionales como el Dr. Anthony Fauci, Director del Instituto Nacional de Alergias y Enfermedades Infecciosas, reconocen que las pruebas no están al ritmo adecuado para detectar la verdadera propagación de COVID-19. Los consejos con respecto a lo que se debe hacer han sido mixtos, por lo que los líderes de las Escuelas de Elkhart han tomado la decisión de actuar con precaución. 

Por la seguridad de nuestros estudiantes y personal, las Escuelas de la Comunidad de Elkhart ha decidido cerrar todas las escuelas el martes, 17 de marzo hasta el descanso de primavera. Las escuelas se reanudarán tentativamente el lunes,13 de abril. 

Entendemos que por razones individuales, las familias optarán por no enviar a sus hijos a la escuela el lunes, 16 de marzo. Sin duda, es el derecho de un padre de familia o tutor. Si un estudiante no se presenta a la escuela el lunes, simplemente les pedimos a los padres de familia que hagan arreglos al final del día o durante los próximos días para que recojan los materiales para el Aprendizaje Electrónico (eLearning) que iniciará el 19 de marzo.  

Para las Escuelas de la Comunidad de Elkhart, esto inicia el siguiente horario:

  • lunes, 16 de marzo: un día escolar normal con salida temprano para los estudiantes; los estudiantes practicarán actividades de Aprendizaje Electrónico y saldrán de la escuela el lunes por la tarde con todos los materiales de aprendizaje que necesitan para el Aprendizaje Electrónico desde su hogar.
  • martes, 17 de marzo: LA ESCUELA ESTARÁ CERRADA PARA LOS ESTUDIANTES. LOS ESTUDIANTES NO TENDRÁN APRENDIZAJE ELECTRÓNICO; EL PERSONAL TRABAJARÁ. Este será el primer día de enseñanza con exención del Departamento de Educación de Indiana que se utilizará como un día de desarrollo profesional para que los maestros se preparen para el Aprendizaje Electrónico.
  • miércoles, 18 de marzo: LA ESCUELA ESTARÁ CERRADA PARA LOS ESTUDIANTES. LOS ESTUDIANTES NO TENDRÁN APRENDIZAJE ELECTRÓNICO; EL PERSONAL TRABAJARÁ. Este será el segundo día de enseñanza con exención del Departamento de Educación de Indiana que se utilizará como un día de desarrollo profesional para que los maestros se preparen para el Aprendizaje Electrónico .
  • jueves, 19 de marzo hasta el viernes, 3 de abril: Aprendizaje Electrónico para los estudiantes 
  • lunes, 6 de abril hasta el viernes, 10 de abril: Descanso de Primavera
  • lunes, 13 de abril: fecha tentativa para el regreso a clases

Estamos conscientes de la interrupción que esto le causa a nuestras comunidades de Elkhart y Bristol, y no tomamos esta decisión a la ligera. Sin embargo, en este momento, la precaución y la atención anula cualquier otra preocupación


Friday, March 13, 2020

Please see the following important message from Superintendent Steve Thalheimer:

Spanish Translation:

Important key messages, as of the afternoon of March 13:

  • There have been no confirmed cases of the coronavirus in Elkhart County. As such, the Elkhart County Health Department has advised Elkhart County schools stay open.
  • Field trips, athletic/musical events, and staff training outside of Elkhart County have been cancelled/postponed, effective immediately.
  • Monday, March 16 will be a regular school day with early release. Students will bring their iPads and other materials needed for eLearning home at the end of the day as a precautionary measure.
  • Tuesday, March 17 will be a no-school day for students and an in-service day for staff. Staff will be working diligently to prepare for eLearning, in the event that the Elkhart County Health Department determines Elkhart Community Schools should close.
  • At this time, we are planning for students to return to school on Wednesday, March 18. We are watching the situation closely and will follow the guidance of the Elkhart County Health Department. As everyone is aware, this situation continues to change quickly.

We appreciate your patience and understanding while we all navigate this ever-changing situation together.

Monday, March 9, 2020

With the first cases in Indiana emerging over the weekend, including a student in Avon, Indiana (just west of Indianapolis), we are continuing to review the potential of eLearning and awaiting guidance from the Indiana Department of Education regarding school dismissal for illness and makeup days. As noted in previous communication, we will follow the guidance of the Elkhart County Health Department in determining school closures.

lunes, 9 de marzo de 2020

Con los primeros casos en Indiana que surgieron el fin de semana, lo que incluye un estudiante de Avon, Indiana (al oeste de Indianapolis), continuamos revisando la posibilidad de Aprendizaje en Línea (eLearning) y esperamos comunicación del Departamento de Educación de Indiana con respecto al cierre de escuelas por enfermedad y los días de recuperación. Como le comunicamos en el aviso anterior, seguiremos las órdenes del Departamento de Salud del Condado de Elkhart para determinar el cierre de escuelas.


Thursday, March 5, 2020

Like most businesses and organizations, Elkhart Community Schools has a team in place that routinely oversees and discusses school safety and the district’s crisis plan. Preparing for a pandemic is part of this comprehensive plan. Given the recent conversations surrounding Coronavirus (COVID-19), we felt this information should be shared with our Elkhart Community Schools’ families. 

It is important to stress one thing: there have been no cases of COVID-19 reported in our area. We do, however, believe that it is vital that we remain proactive by providing preventive information that will assist in containing the spread of the illness. 

Background Information

An influenza pandemic is described by the World Health Organization (WHO) as occurring when a new influenza virus appears and is infecting the human population who has not formerly established immunity. This results in “several simultaneous epidemics worldwide with enormous numbers of deaths and illness.” The WHO notes, “With the increase in global transport and communications, as well as urbanization and over-crowded conditions, epidemics due to the new influenza virus are likely to quickly take hold around the world.”

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC):

Common Influenza (flu) can cause mild to severe illness, and at times can lead to death. Flu is different from a cold. Flu usually comes on suddenly. People who have flu often feel some or all of these symptoms:

  • Fever or feeling feverish/chills (it is important to note that not everyone with the flu will have a fever)
  • Cough
  • Sore throat
  • Runny or stuffy nose
  • Muscle or body aches
  • Headaches
  • Fatigue (tiredness)
  • Some people may have vomiting and diarrhea, though this is more common in children than adults.

Symptoms of the coronavirus/COVID-19 include:

  • Fever
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath

Symptoms of coronavirus/COVID-10 may appear 2-14 days after exposure (added 03/09/2020).

Best Practices

  • A student or staff member who is sick should stay home until they are symptom free for 24 hours, no matter the cause of the illness. This information has been stressed to ECS staff, building administrators, and nurses (added 03/09/2020).
  • We have already begun working with ECS staff to increase the frequency and depth of cleaning/sanitizing steps. This includes the work of custodians, food services, transportation, nurses, and employees in classrooms and school offices. Working together, we will ALL support the effort to wipe down common surfaces such as door knobs, light switches, keyboards, cots, even soap and sanitizing dispensers!
  • Coughing or sneezing into a tissue, elbow, or sleeve is recommended. Tissues should be immediately thrown away in trash receptacles. Staff who work with students will emphasize to students the importance of washing their hands often during the day and of taking steps to limit the spread of germs. Students will be reminded in gentle ways to sneeze into their elbows or use the crook of their arms to cover a cough. Students will be encouraged to not touch others’ or their own faces or to share food. 
  • Note that the CDC has stated two important details regarding hand washing:
    • Washing/cleaning/sanitizing with soap and water is fine, as long as you are washing hands for 20 seconds. No specific “special products” are needed.
      • ECS buildings have been provided with graphics to hang throughout their classrooms and buildings to encourage proper hand washing. Additionally, staff are encouraged to allow additional time for hand washing (added 03/09/2020).
    • Sanitizing gel is also fine, but note that it must be rubbed into the skin until it’s dry.
      • The CDC recommends 60% alcohol-based hand sanitizer (added 03/09/2020)
  • Also based on CDC guidance, we will not encourage the widespread use of masks in school. Masks do not provide any benefit to healthy individuals, and if someone is exhibiting symptoms of Coronavirus, they need to be isolated at home. Additionally, the Surgeon General has asked that masks be preserved for use by medical personnel directly working with potentially infected persons.
  • Should the COVID-19 virus come to Elkhart County, we will follow the direction of the state or county Health Department. If their direction is that we close, we will close. We do not anticipate this happening, but we will absolutely follow the direction of the experts.

These common-sense steps will support students and staff against common winter germs, including colds, seasonal flu and strep, in addition to COVID-19. They are smart practices for all individuals and organizations and we encourage families to follow the same practices at home. 

Cleaning and Disinfecting Facilities

Studies show that the influenza virus can live on a surface and is able to infect a person anywhere from two to eight hours after landing on a surface. The following will aid in the decrease of influenza virus’ left on surfaces:

According to the CDC, “Influenza virus is destroyed by heat (167-212℉). In addition, several chemical germicides, including chlorine, hydrogen peroxide, detergents (soap), iodophors (iodine-based antiseptics), and alcohols are effective against human influenza viruses if used in proper concentration for a sufficient length of time. For example, wipes or gels with alcohol in them can be used to clean hands. The gels should be rubbed into hands until they are dry.”

Our custodial staff will be working hard to ensure our schools are kept as clean and as sanitized as possible. All staff will be encouraged to be diligent with maintaining clean and sanitized areas during their normal activities. 

Links to reputable sources for the latest information on COVID-19

Seasonal Flu vs Pandemic Flu Graphic




























Coronoavirus (COVID-19)

jueves, 5 de marzo de 2020

Coronavirus (COVID-19)

Como la mayoría de los negocios y las organizaciones, las Escuelas de la Comunidad de Elkhart cuentan con un equipo que supervisa y conversa rutinariamente sobre la seguridad escolar y el plan del distrito en el caso de una crisis. La preparación para una pandemia es parte de este plan integral. Debido a las conversaciones recientes acerca del Coronavirus (COVID-19), pensamos es necesario compartir  esta información con las familias de nuestras Escuelas de la Comunidad de Elkhart.

Es importante recalcar que: no han reportado casos de COVID 19 en el estado de Indiana. Sin embargo, creemos que es necesario que tomemos medidas preventivas proporcionando información que ayudaría a prevenir la propagación de la enfermedad.

Informacion General

La Organización Mundial de la Salud (WHO, por sus siglas en inglés) explica que una pandemia de influenza ocurre cuando aparece un virus de influenza nuevo y contagia a la población humana que no ha establecido defensas. Esto da como resultado “varias epidemias simultáneas mundialmente con gran cantidades de muertes y enfermedades”. “Con el aumento del transporte y las comunicaciones mundiales, así como la urbanización y las condiciones de hacinamiento, es posible que las epidemias debidas al nuevo virus de la influenza se propaguen rápidamente en todo el mundo”.

Según los Centros para el Control y la Prevención de Enfermedades (CDC):

La influenza común (el flu) puede causar enfermedades leves a graves y en ocasiones hasta puede causar la muerte. La influenza es diferente a una gripe. Generalmente, la influenza aparece de repente. Las personas que tienen el flu sienten algunos o todos estos síntomas:

  • Fiebre* o una sensación de fiebre/escalofrío
  • Tos
  • Dolor de garganta
  • Secreción nasal o congestió
  • Dolores de músculos o del cuerpo 
  • Dolor de Cabeza
  • Fatiga (cansancio)
  • Algunas personas pueden tener vómito y diarrea, aunque esto es más común en niños que en adultos.

*Es importante tener en cuenta que no todas las personas con la influenza tendrán fiebre.

Mejores Prácticas

  • Hemos comenzado a trabajar con el personal de ECS para aumentar la frecuencia y la profundidad en la limpieza/desinfección. Esto incluye los conserjes, los servicios de alimentos, el transporte, las enfermeras, los salones de clases y las oficinas escolares. Trabajando juntos, TODOS apoyaremos el esfuerzo de limpiar superficies comunes como las perillas de las puertas, interruptores de luz, teclados, cunas/camas, y dispensadores de jabón y desinfectante!
  • Se recomienda toser o estornudar en un pañuelo, codo o manga. Los tisú se deben tirar a la basura inmediatamente. El personal que trabaja con los estudiantes les recalcará a los estudiantes la importancia de lavarse las manos varias veces durante el día y cómo tomar medidas para limitar la propagación de gérmenes. Se les recordará a los estudiantes de manera gentil cómo deben estornudar en sus codos o utilizar sus brazos para cubrirse la tos. Se les recordará a los estudiantes que no le toquen la cara a otros ni a sus propios rostros y que no compartan comida.
  • Tenga en cuenta que el CDC ha establecido dos detalles importantes al respecto de lavarse las manos:
    • Lavarse/limpiarse/desinfectarse con jabón y agua TIBIA está bien, siempre y cuando se laven las manos por 20 segundos. No necesitan “productos especiales”.
    • El gel desinfectante está bien, pero tenga en cuenta que debe frotarse en la piel hasta que esté seco.
  • Según el CDC, no iniciaremos el uso de máscaras en las escuelas. Las máscaras no brindan beneficio a las personas sanas y si alguien presenta síntomas de coronavirus, deben aislarse en su hogar. Además, el Director General de Salud Pública ha pedido que las máscaras se conserven para el uso del personal médico que trabaja directamente con personas infectadas. 
  • Si el virus COVID-19 llega al Condado de Elkhart, seguiremos las órdenes del Departamento de Salud del estado o del condado. Si sus órdenes indican que cerremos, cerraremos. No anticipamos que esto suceda, pero seguiremos las órdenes de los expertos.

Estos pasos le ayudarán a los estudiantes y al personal contra los gérmenes comunes del invierno, lo que incluye la gripe, la influenza estacional y el estreptococo, además de COVID-19. Son prácticas para todas las personas y organizaciones y le animamos a las familias que sigan las mismas prácticas en su hogar. 

La Limpieza y Desinfección de las Instalaciones

Los estudios muestran que el virus de la influenza puede vivir en una superficie y puede infectar a una persona en cualquier lugar de dos a ocho horas después que llegue a una superficie.  Lo siguiente le ayudará en la disminución del virus de la influenza que queda en las superficies:

Según el CDC, “El virus de la influenza se destruye con el calor (167-212 ℉). Además, varios germicidas químicos, los cuales incluyen el cloro, el peróxido de hidrógeno, los detergentes (jabón), los yodóforos (antisépticos a base de yodo) y los alcoholes son efectivos contra el virus de la influenza humana si se utilizan en la concentración adecuada durante un período de tiempo suficiente. Por ejemplo, se pueden utilizar toallitas o geles con alcohol para limpiarse las manos. Las geles se deben frotar en las manos hasta que estén secas “.

Nuestro personal de conserjes estarán trabajando para garantizar que las escuelas se mantengan limpias y desinfectadas.

Enlaces a fuentes acreditadas para la información más reciente sobre el COVID-19