COVID Cases Spike in Cass County

The cases are on the rise in Cass County, which could cause more restrictions in the school setting.

Testing for COVID is available at Cass County Memorial Hospital for those who were exposed or are exhibiting symptoms.

Camryn Church

Testing for COVID is available at Cass County Memorial Hospital for those who were exposed or are exhibiting symptoms.

Camryn Church, Editor

New cases of COVID are spreading throughout the county. As of Wednesday, Sept. 30, Cass County’s positivity testing rate stands at 10.6 percent, up from 2.7 percent 12 days before. During the week of Sept. 19-25, 35 new cases were recorded, compared to four cases tallied between Sept. 11-18.

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It’s important to talk about the complexity of COVID.”

— Superintendent Steve Barber

Staff and parents received an email last Wednesday, Sept. 22, confirming COVID cases for both students and staff at “multiple locations.” Superintendent Steve Barber said, “It’s important to talk about the complexity of COVID.”

Barber said he visited the high school and witnessed many wearing their masks at the beginning of the year, but noticed the numbers dwindled as the days went on. “There are a lot fewer kids wearing masks. If there’s evidence to say masks help, we need to have everybody follow that guideline,” Barber said. 

Considering the bump in COVID numbers in Cass County, Barber said the school board would make the decision to require masks or not. “We’d probably be changing our model before we get to that point.” He said that if COVID cases suddenly went up in the school, the board could get together and decide whether or not to transfer to hybrid learning. “If we get to this point we would probably consider other mitigation strategies,” said Barber.

In case the upsurge of cases becomes too large to continue school in person, the school board and Barber are “in the process” of planning the next steps. The plan would most likely include hybrid learning where students would be separated into two groups, what Barber called Black and Gold. Also in preparation for a possible hybrid learning plan, elementary students have been training to use tools like Google Classroom and Zoom. 

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Confidentiality is pretty important through this whole process.”

— Superintendent Steve Barber

Barber declined to release the number of cases or the buildings from which the cases were coming. “Confidentiality is pretty important through this whole process,” He said. The school board has been informed of the number of cases so that they continue to update the plan as needed. Barber said transparency and confidentiality are “a tough balancing act,” in this situation. “One of our responsibilities is to keep healthy and safe but prevent retaliation,” said Barber. 

According to Barber, the main mitigation strategy used by the school is social distancing. “It takes individual responsibility. That in itself is a mitigation strategy.”

When asked about the potential for rumors and misinformation to spread when factual numbers are not released, Barber said, “Misinformation is always a concern… I can’t control what you say to other people, and you can’t control what other people say.”