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Start postponed for FD schools

-Messenger file photo
Ruby Chestnut, seventh-grade reading teacher at Fort Dodge Middle School, begins class on the first day of school in 2019.

Class will not begin on Aug. 24 as originally planned for the Fort Dodge Community School District due to the high positivity rate for COVID-19 in Webster County.

The district announced on Friday that the start of school is being pushed back to Sept. 8. That applies to both at-school and at-home students.

Administration from the FDCSD met with Webster County Public Health Friday morning.

“The sense right now is that the community spread has become wider,” said Jennifer Lane, FDCSD director of communications. “There was talk about a lot of the cases being attributed to the prison and some of those numbers have fallen out of the prison and into the community.”

The county’s positivity rate in recent days has been between 20-25%. As of Friday, the 14-day average positivity rate was 23.2%, the highest in the state. That number does include tests from the Fort Dodge Correctional Facility.

Humboldt County is second in the 14-day positivity rate at 23.1%. The county with the lowest positivity rate is Story at 1.3%.

Webster County has had 114 new cases in the last two weeks.

A majority of the positives have been confirmed outside of the prison.

“The underlying issue is that there is more spread within the community right now,” Lane said.

Preschool open house, elementary conferences, middle school orientation and freshman orientation will be rescheduled to Sept. 3.

Staff will move forward with professional development on Aug. 17 as planned.

Lane said the district will continue to collaborate with Webster County Public Health in the coming weeks.

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