EPWORTH, Iowa (KWWL)-- Western Dubuque School District officials announced to families Wednesday afternoon that all staff and students would be required to wear masks starting Thursday, October 14 as eight percent of the high school student body is out due to COVID-19.
The district says the mask policy will stay in place until COVID-19 infections are lower than three percent of the total population of Western Dubuque High School.
The high school is seeing an increased number of cases among its student body. Currently there are 85 active cases out of the 944 students.
Compared to surrounding schools, Western Dubuque High School's COVID-19 numbers are vastly higher. Within the district the next highest number of cases is less than six at Drexler Middle School. In the surrounding area, there are 16 cases at Hempstead High School, which is the next highest. According to district Superintendent Rick Colpitts, trying to manage the online schooling for the absent students has created difficulties for staff.
“That’s been an extra strain for the staff,” he said. “Because we have to provide the education for those out sick.”
It’s not clear how COVID-19 spread so much in the school, but district officials say the schools homecoming weekend two weeks beforehand likely had a hand in it. The Western Dubuque School Board plans to hold a meeting next week over the high COVID-19 numbers.