In a statement released over the weekend, the Decorah Community District has announced that no learning model changes will occur at this time.

Full on-site learning will continue at all locations the week of Nov. 16. Staff will continue daily monitoring of COVID-19 data and thorough contact tracing of all instances of exposure.

Superintendent Mark Lane stated, “While we monitor the Winneshiek County 14-day positivity rate, we give our greatest attention to student and staff absenteeism. We are pleased with the rates we have been able to maintain over the past several weeks. We believe our schools are among the safest places for our students to be each day.” Lane continued, “Many schools have been forced to make learning model changes because of inadequate staffing levels. I have talked recently with superintendents in districts where buildings are experiencing employee quarantining and isolation rates between 25 to 35 percent. This is not our experience. We have never had a day with more than seven employees quarantining or isolating. It has been over three weeks since we have had a staff member test positive for COVID-19, and each staff member who has tested positive has recovered and returned to work.”

Lane said that circumstances may change, and that the District is prepared to make changes as needed. Staff has been asked to prepare learning materials two weeks in advance in the event of a change. He adds, “It is critical that we continue to do the things that have gotten us to this point. We have required face coverings since our first day of school, and we know from our experience consistent facemask use makes a difference. Staff and families have been honest and open with our nurses and are staying home when they are sick; we need everyone to remain committed to this practice.” Lane stresses the need to limit interaction with other people outside of school. “I know these are hard sacrifices to make, but in order to maintain what we are experiencing in our schools and to reduce the spread in our community, everyone needs to do their part.” Effective this school week, DCSB will share daily COVID-19 quarantine and isolation data. Prior practice was for once per week release of information. The regular Friday message to families will continue to be issued.“

I know state and county rates are causing greater levels of concern about what is happening in our schools and our learning model. We are committed to transparency and honesty, and up to this point sharing our data each Friday has felt appropriate,” Lane said.

Summary positive statistics currently are: Of approximately 290 staff, 8 positive COVID-19 cases with 8 recovered; of approximately 1575 on-site students, 21 positive COVID-19 cases, with 15 recovered.