BY CHUCK VANDENBERG
FORT MADISON – Despite a 14-day positivity rating of 19.8% in Lee County, Holy Trinity Catholic is moving ahead with in-person learning, while the COVID-19 continues to interrupt daily lives.
According to HTC principal Craig Huebner, Holy Trinity officials are more concerned with internal numbers of staffing, student attendance and quarantines.
“We made a decision on Monday night to continue to stay open 100% with our students,” Huebner said. “The only issue we have is that we rely on Fort Madison (schools) transportation.”
Huebner said HTC officials have worked out a shuttle system between the West Point and Fort Madison facilities.
“The majority of our students will be in class 100%. We will have some students that cannot make it to school and they will have virtual classes, but that number is very small,” Huebner said.
Because the school has comparatively smaller numbers, Huebner said he thinks that allows the mitigation efforts to be more effective and take hold.
“Actually, I think the students are safer here in school than they are out in the community,” Huebner said.
Because the system is still conducting in-person learning all athletic and extracurricular activities are still moving according to schedule.
Huebner said school officials continue to look at daily cases and if staff were to be limited due to the virus, that would be a point where additional consideration would be given to online learning.
“Luckily right now, we have no staff out and no cases within the staff. As long as we can keep healthy, we’re probably okay,” he said.
The state’s coronavirus reporting site has Lee County at a 19.8% 14-day positivity rating with two bordering counties – Des Moines and Henry reporting over 20% and Van Buren at 19.9%.
Despite the lofty numbers, southeast Iowa is in the bottom half of state in overall positivity rates, with five counties in other parts of the state over 30% and Jones County, just west of the Quad Cities reporting at 44.5%.
The state had it’s highest day of new individual positive results on Nov. 2 with 5,192 new positive test results. On Tuesday, the state saw a 29.3% positivity rate with 2,213 new cases out of 7,551 individuals tested.
Fort Madison Community School District went to online learning starting Wednesday for two weeks through the Thanksgiving holiday, putting all students on virtual learning protocols and suspending all athletic programs.
Central Lee is continuing to hold classes but is monitoring district data and public health information daily.