Fairfield schools to remain hybrid until further notice

FAIRFIELD – The Fairfield Community School District will remain in hybrid mode until further notice.

The number of students and staff who had to be isolated or quarantined rose substantially in early January from where the number had been in mid-December, going from 31 COVID-related absences on Dec. 17 to 92 on Jan. 7. Since then, the number of absences has been cut nearly in half to 49 on Jan. 14, but not enough to push the district back to a fully in-person schedule.

The number of positive COVID cases in the district shot up in January. After previously never being above 10 on any given day, 20 positive cases were recorded on Jan. 7. That number fell to 15 by Jan. 14, the most recent date for which there is data.

School Superintendent Laurie Noll posted a message on the district’s website Jan. 6 explaining that the district would remain in hybrid for at least 10 days and perhaps more depending on the number of local COVID cases and COVID-related absences. The district later announced that it would be staying in hybrid mode until further notice.

Hybrid mode refers to how half the student body is taking classes in a school building while the other half is taking courses online. The two groups of students alternate which is doing in-person classes and which is taking online courses.

The number of positive COVID cases in Jefferson County rose gradually in the fall of 2020 and reached a peak of 414 on Nov. 30. The number declined throughout December, falling to 223 cases, but started going up again in early January and now stands at 288 cases.

Jefferson County has the highest positivity rate of COVID tests among its neighbors at 22 percent of tests coming back positive. The next highest is Wapello County at 18 percent.