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Fremont-Mills School District temporarily moves to remote learning amid outbreak

Fremont County has a high COVID-19 positivity rate.
Posted at 6:21 PM, Sep 29, 2020
and last updated 2020-09-29 19:21:06-04

TABOR, Iowa. (KMTV) — Fremont-Mills Community School District is feeling the impacts of the coronavirus. The district started the year in-person, but has now transitioned to remote learning after students started testing positive.

“That’s the scary part of this,” Fremont-Mills superintendent David Gute said. “We don’t know what tomorrow will bring.”

Gute says the district did plan for a potential COVID-19 outbreak, adding the school system received their first reported case on September 15.

Within a span of 2 weeks, the district had a total of eighteen cases, according to Gute.

On top of that, Fremont County has experienced a 14-day-average COVID-19 rate of 16.7 percent, according to the Iowa Department of Health. This number falls above Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds threshold for schools to move remote.

As of last week, Gute says 52 percent of the high school would have been in quarantine whether or not the district moved to virtual learning. He says that’s more than 100 students throughout the 7th through 12th grade levels.

Reynolds released new quarantine guidelines for schools, stating those who were wear masks and come into contact with a positive case, don’t need to quarantine. Her guidelines conflict recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

“A common frustration that was expressed to me was around the guidelines for quarantining students and teachers who have been in contact with positive cases,” Gov. Reynolds said in a press conference.

The recommendation is not mandatory and districts still have the final say on their quarantine procedures, according to Reynolds.

One thing that is still mandatory in the state, putting fall sports on pause if a district decides to move remote.

Tracy Malcom, Fremont-Mills varsity volleyball coach and mom to Husker recruit Seth Malcom, says athletes are trying to stay upbeat despite missing games and practices.

“It’s tough,” Malcom said. “It’s tough mentally on everybody.”

The district plans to stay in remote learning until October 5th, according to Gute.

He says temporarily moving to virtual learning was the safest decision for students and staff.