GLENWOOD, Iowa (KMTV) — On Friday, the Glenwood Community School District Board made the decision to require masks starting on Monday, November 9. Previously masks were an expectation, but Superintendent Devin Embray said it wasn’t consistently being followed.
“We had a low turnout on wearing masks, they started off really well and then they faded in the distance,” Embray said. “With the rising positivity we have related to our activities, and the Governor’s (Reynolds) proclamation that if both are masked and one tests positive that you do not have to quarantine, you can just self-monitor, that’s what let the board to change their stance.”
49 students and staff in the district currently have COVID-19, 18 have recovered.
In addition, the district will not be holding activities from Friday, November 6 through Friday, November 20. Activities are anticipated to resume on Saturday, Nov. 21.
They’ve opted to keep high school students in a structured school setting.
“With the weather as good as it is right now this late in the year we fear kids won’t stay home if we shut down for two weeks. It will cause more kids to move around,” Embray said.
Northeast Elementary, one of two elementary schools in the district, moves to remote learning Monday for up to 14 days; students were sent home with Chromebooks. More than 30 percent of staff are out and the school is having a hard time finding substitutes.
“We’re not expecting our teachers who are ill or who have symptoms to come in or teach from home,” Embray said. “We’re just asking their colleagues to help out with a recorded lesson on the same materials. We have multiple sections of the same grade so we would be able to provide that learning to kids whose teacher is ill right now.”
They’ll decide next Friday if they need to continue remote learning for another week.
Northeast Elementary will still offer meals to students while school is remote. Childcare is available through Kids Place for families in need during remote learning.
Embray hopes all of this will help lower cases. But stresses, this isn't just a school problem.
“Parents, families, community have to help us with this,” he said. “We have our kiddos for eight hours a day and for the next 2/3 of the day they’re not with us, so we need to have support.”