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More than 600 Iowa City School District students in quarantine for exposure to COVID-19

127 students have actually tested positive or are presumed positive
Published: Apr. 7, 2021 at 5:50 PM CDT
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CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (KCRG) - 11 classrooms are closed and 666 students are out in quarantine in the Iowa City Community School District. This comes as health experts worry a new variant of the virus could cause a spike in cases even among young people.

“It’s acting differently from anything we’ve seen before, in terms of transmissibility, in terms of affecting young people, so we have to take this very seriously,” said Dr. Peter Hotez, Dean at National School of Tropical Medicine at Baylor College of Medicine.

Experts believe current vaccines work well to protect against the new variant, but those under 16 are not yet eligible for a vaccine in Iowa. Governor Reynolds was questioned during a news conference on Wednesday on her requirement that student’s return to learn 100% in-person.

“I am not aware of any school district in the country that has pointed to a significant outbreak that is a result from transmission in the classroom,” she said.

The Iowa City School District follows CDC guidelines which require students to quarantine for 14 days if they’ve had close contact with someone who is positive. One parent told KCRG-TV9 he thinks it’s overkill, explaining his daughter had to quarantine for having a cold.

CDC guidance is different from the state’s, which only requires exposed students to quarantine if they were not wearing a mask at the time of exposure. Governor Reynold’s explained she wants kids in the classroom.

“My heart goes out to the kids that are still not in a classroom, still not getting the education, a safe environment and the resources that they need to be successful,” Governor Reynolds told reporters.

In the Iowa City School District, leaders say having to return to school in-person full time is not allowing for proper social distancing.

You can read the District’s full statement here: “Over the past few weeks, when conducting contact tracing for confirmed positive cases in our buildings, we have seen an increase in the number of students identified as close contacts. This increase is, in part, due to the influx of students in our buildings since returning to 100% on-site learning and the inability to no longer maintain proper social distancing measures. The District’s current COVID-19 data is available on our COVID-19 dashboard.

While we are tracking both confirmed positive cases and presumed positive cases (cases where symptoms are present and there is no confirmation of a negative test or alternative diagnosis), contact tracing is only conducted for confirmed positive cases. Our contact tracing and quarantine protocols are based on guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

As a district, we continue to review our quarantine procedures and guidelines on a weekly basis, taking into account any updated guidance from public health experts. In addition, we continue to work closely with Johnson County Public Health to ensure we are taking the appropriate preventative measures to keep our students, staff, and families safe.”

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