(Tabor) -- Classes are empty in the Fremont-Mills School District this week.
School officials announced Sunday the district is switching to remote learning as a result of a student COVID-19 outbreak. Information posted on the Fremont-Mills website indicates nine confirmed positive cases throughout the elementary, junior high and high school levels. Fremont-Mills School Superintendent David Gute tells KMA News the first cases were reported last week.
"We got our first one in the middle of the week," said Gute. "Then, this weekend--Thursday, Friday and Saturday--we had eight additional cases. So, we've been in contact with Fremont County Public Health and the Iowa Department of Education. We did decide to do remote learning for this week, to try to get things to subside, and things under control."
Gute says the source of the outbreak has not been determined.
"It is spread out across several different grade levels," he said. "So, we're looking into things such as wiping down tables versus a mister--are those things working for us? Also, we've hired another custodial member to help wipe things down, and clean at this time. Also--another mitigation strategy--we have desk dividers that just arrived on Friday. We're hoping to have those up and ready for students, so that every student will have a desk divider in between themselves and their peers."
Because of the outbreak, all school activities this week--including Homecoming--are canceled or postponed. Homecoming events have been rescheduled for October 9th. After a good start to the school year, Gute says the coronavirus cases are disappointing on many levels.
"We want our kids in school," said Gute. "We think that face-to-face learning is the best opportunity for students. It's disappointing, but we'll do what we need to do to help right the ship. We don't know when we'll be back in for sure, but hopefully next week."
While the district's K-12 complex is closed, lunch will still be served between 11:30 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. Parents should notify school officials if they wish to pick up the meals.