State officials are making changes to the guidelines for quarantining students and staff in schools who have been exposed to someone who has tested positive for COVID-19. State Medical Director Dr. Caitlin Pedati says if the person with COVID and those who were around them consistently worn a face mask, only with symptoms or who’ve tested positive will have to quarantine for two weeks.
Pedati says she reviewed COVID case counts in four school districts in northwest Iowa’s Sioux County. The three districts where face coverings were not required had between 30 and 130% more COVID cases among students and staff. Pedati believes these new state guidelines on quarantining do not apply to residential facilities, like a nursing homes, but are recommendations that may apply to other settings such as a business or child care center.
Two area school boards have announced that they will convene to discuss the new recommendations. The Garner Hayfield Ventura Community School District is one of those districts. Their board will meet tonight beginning at 6:30 pm in the high school library. Garner Hayfield Ventura Community Schools Superintendent Tyler Williams outlined the reasons why school board may discuss mandatory masking.
Williams reiterated that he is not sure what the end result will be from tonight’s meeting. The board may rule for voluntary recommended masking or make it mandatory for everyone to wear.
There are school districts where masking is mandatory. The Belmond-Klemme Community School District currently has a mask rule in place because of the current infection rate in Wright County.
The Forest City Community School District is another mandatory district. The school board has however, scheduled a meeting for Thursday at noon to discuss the ramifications of the IDPH guidance. The district has already had it’s football program go on a two week hiatus because of COVID infections. The Forest City School Board will meet at the district office in downtown Forest City.