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Local 5 - weareiowa.com | Des Moines Local News & Weather | Des Moines, Iowa

'I wish I could see my friends': First grader describes quarantining after classmate tests positive for COVID-19

A first grade class room at Irving Elementary School in Indianola is the first Iowa classroom to quarantine after starting school.

INDIANOLA, Iowa — Mia Burke turned six on Monday. She was hoping to celebrate the occasion with her classmates at Irving Elementary.

However, she spent her birthday at home, where she'll be staying the next two weeks. Someone in Mia's first grade classroom at Irving Elementary tested positive last week. 

"I wish I could see my friends," she said.

She knew that going into this year, she'd have to be extra careful and wear a mask.

"Last year, COVID-19 wasn't even a thing," said the six-year-old.

Her family got an email on Sunday from the Indianola school district, and then they received a phone call from Warren County Public Health.

RELATED: Indianola Community School District announces COVID-19 case in Irving Elementary classroom

"You sit there and you look at your kids and you always hope that everybody is safe, especially right now with COVID-19," said Mia's mother, Meg Burke. 

However, Meg said the notification wasn't particularly shocking.

"It was something that we were obviously prepared to happen," she said. "We know that the school is doing everything they could to prevent it, but it was kind of inevitable in our minds."

Art Sathoff, superintendent of the Indianola School District, said that Irving had begun the school year with social distancing measures in place. 

"Within our return to learn plan, we are going to physically distance whenever we can. That's very challenging in a school setting, obviously,' said Sathoff. "We are trying to have one-way traffic whenever we can...really some of the mitigation efforts that are more achievable are the emphasis on good hygiene, frequent hand washing, [and] adding hand sanitizing stations."

Like Mia's mom, Sathoff wasn't necessarily surprised that someone tested positive. However, he's aware that the simple fact that the school is the first Iowa class to have a person test positive is gaining attention.

"I think it's big news because [Irving] was the first. And we are one of several year-round elementaries in the state," he said. 

Indianola CSD has worked closely with Warren County Public Health to assist in Contact Tracing.

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