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COVID-19 quarantines, positive cases reported by Story County schools

Danielle Gehr
Ames Tribune

Story County school district's school's online portals show the number of students and staff who are currently in quarantine or have tested positive for COVID-19.

The following school districts have provided an update on COVID-19 cases across their student and staff population.

As of Tuesday at 10 a.m., Story County's 14-day average positivity rate was 10.5%.

Ames school district 

Ames K-5 schools switched to in-person instruction Monday after the school board voted to do so Dec. 29. The high school and middle school remain in a hybrid model. 

On Tuesday morning, the district reported less than six positive cases among students at the preschool and elementary buildings, middle school and Ames High School. Additionally, less than 6 staff members at the preschool and elementary buildings, Ames middle school and Ames High School have tested positive for the virus. 

The district reported 19 elementary and preschool students, 12 middle school students and 9 Ames High students quarantining as close contacts.

According to the presented data, the community indicator is at level orange. The county's 14-day average of new cases sits at 31.7 as of Monday, up from 24.2 a week ago. 

The school indicator, which looks at the student and staff five-day absence rate, varies across the district:

  • Elementary schools (All PK-5) – (Student 5-day absence rate) 1.92%; (Staff 5-day absence rate) 3.87%; (Risk level colors) Green/Green
  • Ames Middle School – (Student 5-day absence rate) 1.52%; (Staff 5-day absence rate) 5%; (Risk level colors) Green/Yellow
  • Ames High School – (Student 5-day absence rate) 2.88%; (Staff 5-day absence rate) 6.42%; (Risk level colors) Green/Yellow

As part of the updated metrics, each color represents a risk level, which is also associated with the learning models:

  • Green – 100% In-person Learning for all levels PK-12, if 6-feet social distancing can be maintained when masks cannot be worn (when eating)
  • Yellow –  Hybrid Learning for all PK-12; modified schedule offered for students identified as needing additional support
  • Orange – Hybrid Learning model the same as Yellow level. Staff begins preparation for transition to 100% remote if required. Some buildings transition as staff shortages require.
  • Red – 100% Remote Learning for all, pending approval from Iowa Department of Education. (Note: Requires >15% positivity to get approval)

The COVID-19 dashboard includes a "historical data" graph that identifies Story County tests reported, Story County positives, the 14-day new case average and the Ames school district risk level. 

The following statistics were reported by the district on Monday:

Ames Preschool/Elementary

Confirmed COVID-19 positive – (students) less than six; (remote) 0; (staff) less than six

Quarantined as "close contacts" – (students) 19; (staff) less than six

Ames Middle School 

​​​​​​Confirmed COVID-19 positive –  (students) less than six; (remote) 0; (staff) less than six

Quarantined as "close contacts" – (students) 12; (staff) less than six

Ames High School

Confirmed COVID-19 positive – (students) less than six; (remote) 0; (staff) less than six

Quarantined as "close contacts" – (students) nine; (staff) less than six

Ballard school district

The Ballard school district last updated its COVID-19 tracker Jan. 8. 

At that time, less than six students and less than six staff members at the Ballard school district have tested positive for COVID-19, according to Ballard's online COVID-19 tracker. 

According to the last update, a total of 25 students and less than six staff members were in quarantine as a result of coming into contact with an individual who tested positive for the virus. 

Gilbert school district

The Gilbert school district reported on their COVID-19 dashboard Tuesday 11 students and four employees have tested positive for the virus, according to an update from the district. 

A total of 30 students and four staff members at the district were in quarantine due to exposure to COVID-19. 

Additionally, the district reported information pertaining to absentee rates among students and staff due to illness: 

  • District – 2.3%
  • High School – 2.8%
  • Middle School – 3.2%
  • Intermediate – 2.5%

Nevada school district

The Nevada school district reported Jan. 6 one Nevada high school student tested positive for COVID-19, according to information from the Nevada school district. 

As a result of the positive cases, one individual was asked by Public Health to quarantine due to unmasked exposure. 

Across the district, Nevada reported absentee rates for illness, as a result of being in quarantine due to COVID-19 exposure as well as due to a positive COVID-19 case. 

As of Jan. 8, the following statistics were reported by the district for that time: 

Central Elementary

  • Absentee rate due to COVID-19 positive: 0%
  • Absentee rate due to quarantine: 0.92%

Nevada Middle School

  • Absentee rate due to COVID-19 positive: 0.24%
  • Absentee rate due to quarantine: 2.39%

Nevada High School

  • Absentee rate due to COVID-19 positive: 0.58%
  • Absentee rate due to quarantine: 2.89% 

As of Jan. 8, the district had an overall absentee rate of 1.91%, which includes both the number of ill students and COVID-19 positive cases.

Roland-Story school district

Roland-Story schools are operating fully in-person, with a remote option for families.

Five students and no staff members are currently quarantining due to testing positive for COVID-19 as of Tuesday, according to the district's website. 

Since Aug. 24, the first day of school, 81 students and 21 staff members have tested positive for the virus, an increase of zero cases for students and three staff since before the winter break.

The Roland-Story school district said it will not share further details of the positive cases in order to respect student and staff confidentiality: "Identifying students by building or grade level jeopardizes our ability to keep individual health information confidential," the district wrote on its website.

"If members of our school community do not feel we are doing our best to keep personal information confidential, we run the risk of families no longer sharing important health-related information with us," the district wrote.

The Colo-NESCO and Collins-Maxwell school districts in Story County do not have online COVID-19 case dashboards on their websites. 

Danielle Gehr is a politics and government reporter for the Ames Tribune. She can be reached by email at dgehr@gannett.com, phone at (515) 663-6925 or on Twitter at @Dani_Gehr.