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WC Schools report two positive COVID-19 cases

Board hears update about homecoming plans

One staff member and one student in the Webster City School District tested positive for COVID-19 over the weekend, according to district officials. The announcement came at the board of education meeting Monday night.

School Nurse Lea Ahrens reported that 7 staff members were in quarantine as a result of the positive cases, and 39 students have been quarantined. She said a few of those are awaiting test results.

“These popped up after I sent out my tweet on Friday saying that were were zero and zero. But we know that this is the ebb and flow of this situation,” said Superintendent Dr. Mandy Ross.

School officials declined to reveal where the positive cases were reported.

“The nurses really take all of the people who may have had COVID contact or are COVID positive through the district’s protocol,” said Ross. “We let our medical professionals actually lead that process.”

Ahrens and Cindi Sweedler, Northeast Hamilton school nurse, answered questions from the board about the district’s procedures. Ross said there may be changes coming after Governor Reynold’s press conference on Tuesday.

“We’re waiting to get that specific information. We’ll update the documents and then we’ll update the board when we get that,” Ross said.

Ross said health officials are urging people to get flu vaccines this fall.

“What the medical professionals are anticipating, based on the larger scale, not just in our community, with flu season quickly approaching, they are really encouraging flu shots,” Ross said. “On a national level, they are anticipating a surge again. That’s why we’re trying to be as vigilant as possible.”

Ross commended the staff and the students for their efforts to keep everyone safe.

“We started strong and we’re staying strong. I think that’s where we’re making a difference. Our total goal is to keep people safe, healthy and in school,” Ross said. She commended Ahrens and Sweedler for their diligence in record keeping, phone calls and everything they have done regarding the pandemic.

Plans for Homecoming activities were also discussed with the board of directors.

High School Principal Dan Johnson said everything the district has done as plans were developed for Homecoming have focused on the cornerstones of the mitigation process — social distancing, wearing face coverings and limiting large group gathering.

“With that in mind, we kind of came up with a game plan,” he said. Johnson told the board that he and Dr. Ross met with a group of students who offered some ideas on the plans.

“We’re looking at how we can tweak some of the events that are upcoming so we can keep as many traditional pieces in place, but still maintain that safety piece,” he said.

With the A/B student cohorts at the high school, the dress-up days were extended to allow both cohort groups to take part. The dress-up days will begin this Friday and continue to Monday with the Color War theme. On Tuesday and Wednesday, it’s The Hawaiian Vacation You Couldn’t Take, and Thursday and Friday will be Purple and Gold Days.

Another tradition involves the band marching and performing in the halls of the high school during Homecoming Week. Johnson said the musicians will now perform outside the building, on all sides and in the courtyard.

“They’ll be playing any where there are windows,” he said. That will be on Thursday and Friday.

Johnson said Boom Night will be held Thursday, Oct. 8. Originally planned for Lynx Field, the high school is now looking at using the competition gym, utilizing both sets of bleachers to social distance, chairs on the floor for the Homecoming court and Hall of Fame inductees, and a podium at the front. The set up would be similar to what it was for graduation, Johnson said.

As for the homecoming parade, Johnson said they took feedback from student council as well as the Iowa High School Athletic Association. That group had suggested the idea of a reverse parade. But in meeting with some of the seniors, Johnson said the students asked for a more traditional parade, perhaps spreading out the route more and possibly taking the route past the nursing homes.

“They presented some very valid points on how that could be done, while still maintaining the tenets of our mitigation related to COVID,” he said. “We’re looking at some other ideas as well to hopefully create some memories for the students in this year that is anything but normal.”

Johnson said he thought there would be more news about homecoming by the end of the week.

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