116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
CORALVILLE - More than 100 Northwest Junior High School students - about 15 percent of the student body - are out in quarantine after four students and a staff member tested positive for COVID-19.
In an email to families Wednesday, Northwest Principal Elizabeth Bruening said that four students and a staff member tested positive for COVID-19 and were contagious while at school.
As of Thursday morning, all schools in the Iowa City Community School District were reporting a total of 91 students and eight staff currently positive for COVID-19, and 325 students and 15 staff in quarantine from exposure to the disease.
Northwest Junior High has 113 students in quarantine - the highest number in the district right now. Fewer than 10 students are confirmed positive and fewer than 10 are presumed positive.
The next highest number of students in the district in quarantine is 40 at Penn Elementary.
About 700 students attend Northwest Junior High in Coralville.
Iowa City schools are following quarantine guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Students in close contact with a positive COVID-19 case, even if both people are wearing masks, will be quarantined.
In December, the district also decided to continue with its 14-day quarantine guideline for students and staff exposed to COVID-19 after the CDC released new guidance that allows for reducing the number of days from 14 to 10.
District officials have expressed concern about potentially quarantining a larger number of students now that it's required by state law to offer an option for fully in-person learning.
Earlier this year, Gov. Kim Reynolds signed into law Senate File 160, which required K-12 schools to offer a 100 percent in-person learning option by Feb. 15.
Until then, the district was offering students the choice between hybrid learning - split between A and B days in-person and virtual - and online- only learning.
About 60 percent of the district's students were enrolled in hybrid learning, meaning the district had only 30 percent of its students overall in-person any day of the week.
The other 40 percent are enrolled in temporary virtual learning.
Superintendent Matt Degner has expressed concern the district will see an influx in the number of students and staff in quarantine with less room for social distancing now that twice as many students are in the buildings.
People who have tested positive for COVID-19 are at home recovering, and anyone who was determined to have been in contact with them has been asked to quarantine, Bruening said.
The district worked with Johnson County Public Health in the contact tracing process.
The school is following CDC guidelines for cleaning and disinfecting classrooms and building common areas.
The district did not respond Thursday to a request for comment.
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