Three Cardinal students test positive for COVID-19

Forty-three students are in quarantine; Homecoming Week postponed until January

Cardinal Comets
Cardinal Comets

ELDON — Three students at Cardinal Community School District have tested positive for COVID-19.

Wapello County Public Health notified the district of two positive cases at the high school on Sept. 8, and a third case about a week later on Sept. 14.

Cardinal Community School District Superintendent Joel Pedersen said the first two positive cases prompted the district to quarantine 40 students who may have come in contact with the positive-testing students based on seating charts in classrooms and on the bus.

“I will say that we were all surprised at the number of quarantined students from two positive cases,” Pedersen said. “The high school level creates the most quarantines due to kids in different classes.”

Pedersen said the district began its contact tracing protocol right away. He said he was pleased at how his staff executed the procedures.

For the third student who tested positive, the district needed to quarantine only three students due to “solid social distancing protocols,” Pedersen said.

The superintendent added that the district has been fortunate in that none of its staff has tested positive and has been able to continue offering classes for the first four weeks of school.

As of Sept. 18, 43 students remained in quarantine, all of whom are taking classes online, which Pedersen said is an option for any student who wants it.

In early September, the district’s school board amended its mask policy to make facial coverings mandatory.

Pedersen said the new rule has gone well and that it has brought a sense of calm to his staff. He said he knows masks are a polarizing issue, but he’s glad the district made the change.

“It aligns with every recommendation from local, state and federal health experts,” Pedersen said. “Our goal is to keep our school open and facial coverings are an important mitigation strategy to this goal.”

Cardinal was scheduled to have its homecoming week next week, culminating in the varsity football game, Friday, Oct. 2. The school has opted to postpone homecoming festivities to the basketball season. Homecoming Week will begin Jan. 25, and the homecoming boys’ and girls’ basketball games will be played at 3 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 30, against Chariton. The homecoming dance will follow at 7 p.m. in the Elementary Safe Room.