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Due to an increase in positive COVID-19 cases over the past two weeks, Western Dubuque High School will require masks of all students and staff beginning Thursday, Oct. 14.

The mask requirement only applies to Western Dubuque High School at this time.

As of 3:45 p.m. Oct. 12, the COVID-19 dashboard on the district website reported 82 positive cases among students at Western Dubuque High School.

In a notification to parents Wednesday, Oct. 13, Superintendent Rick Colpitts said, “The number of positive cases at WDHS has increased significantly in the past two weeks. Masks will be required for everyone during the regular school day beginning when they enter the building before class starts in the morning and remaining on until exiting the building at the end of the school day.”

According to Colpitts, masks won’t be required while eating lunch or when the student is outside for a class activity.

Masks will continue to be required at school until the positivity rate at the school drops below 3 %. The positivity rate is calculated by taking the total number of students and staff in the building (1063) and multiplying this by 3%. “When the number of positive cases is 32 or higher, masks will be required at school,” Colpitts explained. “When total positive cases is 31 or less, masks will be recommended but not required.”

Colpitts added that data from the district’s COVID-19 dashboard will be looked at every day at 2 p.m. to determine the positivity rate at the school. “That data will be used to determine the masks requirement for the following date. Based on the anticipated return date of people currently on quarantine, masks will be required Friday, Oct. 15 as well. We will review the dashboard data around 3 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 17 to determine if masks will be required on the 18th.” The notification said the school will have a large supply of masks available in the building each day.

While the decision only applied to WDHS due to the number of positive cases, Colpitts indicated the school board will meet in the near future to discuss the possibility of developing a district-wide plan.