ARTICLE

More Mid-Prairie students return to in-person class

The Mid-Prairie School District saw a decrease in the number of students absent due to quarentine on Monday (Caitlin Yamada/The Union)
The Mid-Prairie School District saw a decrease in the number of students absent due to quarentine on Monday (Caitlin Yamada/The Union)

WELLMAN — The Mid-Prairie school district saw a decrease in students absent due to quarantine and positive cases on Monday.

The number of students missing school due to quarantine has increased almost every school day since the end of August, but Superintendent Mark Schneider said Monday’s numbers are hopefully the beginning of a decrease.

There were 112 students absent due to quarantine and four students absent due to a positive test on Monday. The number of staff members absent stayed the same.

On Friday, there were 149 students absent due to quarantine and six students absent due to a positive test. There were also four staff members absent due to quarantine and one positive test.

Schneider said the only thing predictable is how unpredictable the situation is. Though it is unknown if this is the beginning of a decrease, he said if there were any new cases due to Labor Day they would have shown up by now.

On Sept. 2, Activities Director Tyler Hotz announced that all volleyball matches, the varsity football game and the junior varsity football game were canceled that week due to COVID-19.

At the time, Mid-Prairie reported that 94 students and three staff members were absent due to quarantine, and four students were absent due to positive COVID-19 tests on Sept. 3.

On Sept. 8, the school board approved a plan from Hotz to limit attendance at home games for the rest of the fall sports season.

For schools to shift from in-person to remote learning, the Department of Education as well as the Iowa Department of Public heath said schools need to meet two conditions: At least 15 to 20 percent of COVID-19 tests in the county over the past two weeks came back positive and at least 10 percent of students are absent due to illness.

Though a data chart on the Mid-Prairie school district’s website states the percent absent is 11.6 percent on Monday, this includes absences due to quarantine, which is not included in the state-mandated threshold.

As of Monday, the 14 day-rolling average was 20.2 percent in Johnson County and in Washington County it was 9.6 percent, according to the district.

Schneider said the district will keep working with students and hopes that the past few weeks have shown students the importance of social distancing.