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Climbing COVID-19 rate expands Charles City school face covering scope

Climbing COVID-19 rate expands Charles City school face covering scope
Iowa seven-day COVID-19 test positivity rate, for period ending Monday, Jan. 24.
By Bob Steenson, [email protected]

COVID-19 mitigation efforts have expanded at Charles City public schools, with face coverings required this week at almost all attendance centers.

The mitigation efforts, approved by the Board of Education in September 2021, require face coverings when the absentee level is 7% or higher. That includes all absentees, for COVID-19 or other reasons.

According to the school district “Illness Dashboard,” the three-day rolling absentee rate as of Monday was 9.3% at the high school, 9.7% at the middle school, 9.3% at Washington Elementary and 15% at the innovative campus.

Only Lincoln Elementary was below the 7% threshold, with a three-day rolling absentee rate of 6.0 percent.

The school website advises against speculation as to the cause of the absentees, but it also lists a range of positive cases reported at each school.

“COVID cases are identified by the family self-reporting the illness to the school district,” the website says. “There is no contact tracing system in place at the state, county or local level.”

The positive case range for each attendance center was between 10 and 15 at Lincoln Elementary, between 15 and 20 at Washington Elementary and the high school, and between 25 and 30 at the middle school.

“Face coverings are required for staff and students at the Charles City High School, Charles City Middle School, and Washington Elementary School and Innovative Campus beginning Monday, Jan. 24, 2022 to Friday, Jan. 28, 2022,” the school district posted on its website, www.charlescityschools.org.

The school district said it would re-evaluate the date again on Friday and notify families once the mitigation plan changes.

“This is a targeted strategy only for these campuses to keep our schools open,” the school district said.

The Iowa COVID-19 date website, coronavirus.iowa.gov, shows the seven-day positivity test rate for Floyd County was 22% as of Monday, with 180 new cases reported for the previous week. That is up from 16% and 127 cases the week before.

The seven-say positivity rate is the percentages of tests that were positive out of all the COCID-19 tests that were taken that week.

Area county seven-day positivity rates as of Monday were:

  • Bremer County – 15%, 225 new cases.
  • Butler County – 15%, 124 new cases.
  • Cerro Gordo County – 24%, 447 new cases.
  • Chickasaw County – 24%, 128 new cases.
  • Floyd County – 22%, 180 new cases.
  • Franklin County – 20%, 132 new cases.
  • Howard County – 19%, 81 new cases.
  • Mitchell County – 16%, 76 new cases.
  • Worth County – 23%, 89 new cases.

The statewide seven-day positivity test last week was 26.2%. It increased from 23.8% the previous week.

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