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Deaconess nurse Craig Meier gets one of the first doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine delivered to the Tri-State.2020...and now 2021 will go down in history- its full impact is still being written. Here is WNIN, IPBS and Side Effects complete coverage.

State Launches COVID-19 Help Hotline For Schools

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The State Department of Health announced Wednesday it launched a hotline for school administrators to call with questions about COVID-19.

Health Commissioner Dr. Kris Box said the hotline is one of a number of tools the state is using to help schools reopen, including a school nurse coordinator who’s been doing weekly webinars.

“And we’re also finalizing a toolkit for schools to provide easily available resources such as symptom checkers, contact tracing checklists and guidance on quarantine and isolation,” Box said.

READ MORE: You Asked How Schools Will Address Equity Issues, Reopening? We’ve Got Answers

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Many school districts around the state have already reopened to in-person instruction, with several announcing positive COVID-19 cases. Box said that was expected.

“I want to emphasize that having a case of COVID in a school should not be a cause for panic or a reason to close," Box said. "It’s a reason to take action to prevent an outbreak.”

Box said the state is relying, in part, on “personal responsibility” of parents not to send their kids to school if they’re showing symptoms.

The Holcomb administration has resisted laying out specific metrics at which schools should shut down (or opt not to reopen to in-person instruction). Box said those are local decisions that should take into account several factors, including the number of positive cases and tests being performed in their counties.

Contact reporter Brandon at bsmith@ipbs.org or follow him on Twitter at @brandonjsmith5.