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Pottawattamie County school district delaying classes a week due to COVID-19 outbreak

The AHSTW Community School District canceled its open house event on Monday and pushed back the start of school to Aug. 30 due to an outbreak among staff.

AVOCA, Iowa — An Iowa school district is delaying the start of classes by a week due to an outbreak of COVID-19 cases among staff, according to an announcement from the district's superintendent

The AHSTW Community School District in Pottawattamie County canceled its open house event on Monday and pushed back the start of school to Aug. 30 due to the outbreak.

The cities the district is made up of include Avoca, Hancock, Shelby, Tennant and Walnut.

"This outbreak has led to multiple positives and many more exposures," says the announcement from Superintendent Darin Jones. "This leads to an increased concern level for me in knowing if we will be able to staff our building in the near future and also for the potential additional exposures to students who have yet to enter our building." 

Jones' letter says the district's contact tracing measures have found that students at the K-12 levels have not had the same level of exposure. Because of this, activities will continue as planned, and the district will inform others about their decision to participate in events. 

The district will revisit its calendar to adjust staff in-service days as needed. The announcement says the district isn't reducing the number of school days "at all."

RELATED: Metro doctor recommends children wear a mask or get vaccinated as school resumes

The updated calendar will not impact graduation day, but it may impact the last day of school for all PK-12 students. 

According to data from the Iowa Department of Public Health as of last Wednesday, Pottawattamie County has a 7-day positivity rate of 15.9%. The 14-day positivity rate is at 17.1%.

The state reports 52% of positive cases from Aug. 11 through Aug. 18 were among those 18-29 years old. 

Health officials urge everyone to continue to practice mitigation strategies to stop the spread of COVID-19: 

  1. Get vaccinated
  2. Wear a mask as the CDC recommends
  3. Stay home when you're sick
  4. Wash your hands frequently
  5. Practice social distancing