Decorah Community School District is committed to providing transparent, accurate data regarding cases of isolation and/or quarantining related to COVID-19 while maintaining the confidentiality of students and staff. On September 18, the Iowa Department of Public Health and Iowa Department of Education released guidance to school districts and local public health agencies detailing communication of COVID-19 related data.
Of approximately 290 Staff – Eight (8) positive COVID-19 – Eight (8) recovered
Of approximately 1575 On-site students – Sixteen (16) positive COVID-19 – Eight (8) recovered
Weather-related Closure Remote Learning Survey
During the last legislative session, Iowa law was changed to allow school districts to use remote learning on emergency closure days in place of make-up days at the end of the school year. Because each of our students is issued a technology device, and we have the Canvas Learning Management System in place, we are well positioned to use this option.
The board of directors and administrative team has sent an email to parents and guardians asking for feedback on a variety of option. A survey was sent to them Friday late afternoon.
Disposable Mask are Disposable, but Not Free
Over the past few weeks, district personnel has observed students using disposable face masks in increased numbers. The primary purposes for having disposable masks available in the buildings and on the buses are for emergency student use when a cloth face mask has been forgotten and for spectators who come to district events without a face mask.
Disposable face masks generally cost between $0.16 and $0.25 each, meaning a box of 2000 masks costs between $350 to $400. This becomes a general fund cost coming from the same funds meant to support student learning.
At the beginning of the school year, every student and staff member received two cloth face masks. The District urges everyone to use their reusable cloth face masks rather than to rely on the availability of disposable masks at each building. If students have physical education or recess and feel their mask gets sweaty or soiled, it would be appropriate for them to bring two masks, and to switch at some point during the day.
Superintendent Mark Lane remarked, “Over the past two weeks, we have seen increased numbers of positive COVID-19 cases and increased 14-day positivity rates in Winneshiek County and across our state. While we have seen an increase in the number of students needing to quarantine during the past two weeks, we have not seen an increase in the number of students testing positive for COVID-19.”
Lane continued, “For me, this reinforces just how critical the consistent use of face masks is to our success in providing on-site learning. As we enter the winter activities season, we will be seeing an increase in the number of people entering our buildings. The Northeast Iowa Conference schools unanimously approved requiring spectators to wear face masks during winter activities. We took this action because we feel responsible for doing everything we can to provide the experiences we know our students enjoy. We look forward to winter activities, and we appreciate everyone’s efforts to follow conference expectations.”