IMS staff, students to wear face masks because of COVID-19 cases

The middle school's high number of cases triggered an automatic face mask mandate for two weeks. Cases increased last week, rising again after low case counts when students returned from the winter break earlier this month.

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January 17, 2022 - 9:14 AM

The break is over.

A week after reporting low cases of COVID-19 after students returned to class from winter break, Iola Middle School students will need to wear face masks because of a high number of infections. 

USD 257 announced on Sunday that students and staff at the middle school would need to wear masks for at least two weeks, until Jan. 30, because of a high number of COVID cases.

The district has a policy to automatically trigger a mask mandate when at least 4% of students in a building test positive for COVID-19. At IMS, that number is 16.

A report on Friday showed an uptick in cases since students returned to classes earlier this month, and closer to early-December numbers. At that time, a high number of cases at Lincoln Elementary School triggered a mask mandate in that building.

Lincoln was just one case away from another mask mandate on Friday, with six active cases.

Iola High School also reported a high number of cases, with 13. The 4% threshold at IHS is 16. 

Meanwhile, 94 students in the district were being tested daily so they could remain in class after having been exposed. More than half of those, 50, were at IMS. 

Another 58 students and four staff were in quarantine as of Friday. 

TOTAL CASES since the pandemic began topped the 3,000 threshold for Allen County on Friday.

The Kansas Department of Health and Environment reported a total of 3,040 cases, with 69 new cases in two days.

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