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When it became clear that the coronavirus wasn’t going anywhere anytime soon but that people were desperate to resume normal activities — like getting back to school — the Hamilton County Health Department decided to launch a Show Some C.L.A.S.S. campaign, which just kicked off this month.

“We want to encourage community members — especially those with students — to curb their extracurricular activities so that we can limit exposure and slow transmission within the school buildings,” says Tammy Sander, APR with Hamilton County Communications.

The acronym in the Show Some C.L.A.S.S. campaign is as follows:

C – Check your child’s temperature each morning before sending them to school.

L – Lead by example by social distancing and wearing a mask whenever you leave the house.

“Some people don’t understand that it’s masks and social distancing together— not one or the other,” Sander says.

A – Avoid large crowds.

“This has been a big focal point as we have seen a significant uptick in positive cases since July 4 in the 0-19 age range, and particularly in the 14-18 age range,” Sander says.

Transmission is happening at super-spreader events such as weddings, BBQs, family reunions, and private parties.

“People are letting their guard down because they’re outside and feel they don’t need to wear masks,” says Sander, noting that it’s best to avoid slumber parties, car pools, playdates and busy playgrounds. “If you want kids to stay in school for as long as possible, we need to limit our exposure to potential virus in the environment.”

S – Schedule a test if someone in your family exhibits signs of COVID-19.

S – Stay home until you receive your test results or if you’re not feeling well. Unfortunately, many people are out & about while awaiting their result. If they turn out to be positive, contact tracing must be done to track down all the people they’ve potentially exposed.

Compliance to following these two simple rules — social distancing and wearing a mask — hasn’t been easy. Some don’t like being told what to do while others complain that the masks make their glasses fog up or their face break out. Others simply resist change.

“Routine is a hard thing to start, but it can be done,” says Sander, who recalls when she was in sixth grade and brought home a “seatbelt pledge” that she asked her mom to sign, vowing that the whole family would start wearing a seatbelt. Though her mom complained initially, they got used to it and never stopped.

“We want to get kids back in school and keep them there,” Sander says. Not only is it where they learn best but they benefit greatly from the social-emotional development they get at school.

The Hamilton County Health Department is implementing a Teen Task Force that will include five seniors from seven high schools in Carmel, Westfield, Noblesville and northern Hamilton County. The hope is that if seniors ask their peers to make smart choices, the underclassmen will listen.

“Tapping into that FOMO mentality of potentially missing prom or graduation, we hope that those seniors will have influence over underclassmen to behave,” Sander says. “I hope to assemble a group with varying backgrounds — athletes, musicians, art students, etcetera, so we have different spheres of influence.”

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