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Five more positive COVID tests as school district fights on

By James Grob,

The Charles City School District announced that five more individuals had tested positive in the district — three last Friday and two more on Monday.

Floyd County Public Health notified the district that one 9th-grade student and one staff member had tested positive on Monday, and one 9th-grader, one 10th-grader and one 11th-grader had all tested positive on Friday.

Of the three students with positive tests on Friday, none had been at school since Sept. 3.

The district said it temporarily closed off all areas of the building the individuals had used, in order  to clean and disinfect the spaces.

It said Charles City is cooperating with the Floyd County Department of Health to take the steps necessary to protect the health of the district and community.

“We’re constantly getting new guidance from public health, both from the state and the county,” said Charles City Superintendent Mike Fisher. “We are constantly checking on that.”

According to the district, as of Monday evening there have been 34 positive tests reported since the start of the school year, 28 of those at Charles City High School.

Five individuals were placed in quarantine on Monday. A total of 127 individuals in the district have been quarantined since the start of the school year.

Individuals are quarantined if they have been in close contact with a person who tested positive for COVID-19. The person they came in contact with is not necessarily connected with the school. Close contact is defined at being within 6 feet of someone for more than 15 minutes.

“We have no evidence that the wave actually spread at the high school,” Fisher said. “Of the all kids we had quarantined at one point, none of them actually got COVID.”

The Charles City football team resumed practice on Monday after putting the season on hold for two weeks due to an outbreak of positive COVID-19 tests and quarantined athletes.

Fisher said that quarantine strategies have been really aggressive, and that the district was checking with state officials to see if there were viable alternatives to the quarantine procedures.

“We have football back up and running again, so we’re through that wave and that spike, which was a real bummer,” Fisher said. “We are working with some new mitigation techniques for them.”

All CCHS athletes were required to perform an online daily COVID-19 check prior to participating in practice. Players must pass the COVID-19 check two consecutive days before a practice. All football players needed to pass checks on Sunday and Monday in order to participate on Monday.

Fisher said he met personally on Monday with leaders of the high school athletic teams, and has been encouraging students to make good decisions when they aren’t at school.

“We’re realizing that much of the spread is not happening during the school day, or even at practice,” Fisher said. “It’s happening after hours.”

Individuals who tested positive for COVID-19 will be allowed to return to school once they are 24 hours with no fever and symptoms are improving, and 10 days since symptoms started. If they have no symptoms they can return 10 days from the day of the test. The campus attendance office will monitor the return date.

At the school board meeting Monday, the Charles City School District Board of Education appointed several personnel to help with COVID-19 mitigation. This included COVID-19 customer service coordinators Jeanine Tudor and Lynn Bauer, CARE route bus driver Timothy LaBarge, and compassionate customer service specialists Ray Cole, Dana Sullivan, Dan Caffrey, Karleen Sickman, Joshua Dean, Laura MacKay, Ann Hanes, Brenda Marpe, Annick Beaver, Kim Carman, Mary Cross, Julie Tjabring, Christina Eaves and Angie Parsons, all at an hourly wage of $17.

Fisher said he believed it is important that the district keep the public informed in regard to COVID-19.

“In the absence of information, people often assume the worst, so we are trying to be as transparent as we can with our information,” Fisher said.

“Good news, bad news or otherwise, we want our community to know, so they can make informed decisions,” he said.