The Iowa population has a wide variety of data and statistics related to COVID-19, from national maps with records of pandemic activity to outbreak information at the school district level.
As students evolve for the third year of pandemic and distance learning, school and public health experts say families should be aware of what the COVID-19 and school district dashboards are saying.
Melissa Abbott, the Des Moines Public Schools Health Services Supervisor, said the data collected in Iowa is excellent, as is the source material, and the COVID-19 panels being used by school districts are very helpful, even though they have certain limits.
Additionally, she said there is no specific requirement for families of students who test positive for COVID-19 to break the news to the district. Similarly, staff members who test positive are not required to take it either.
Abbott said: “We only know of a positive case if it is reported, are there any staff or students who don’t tell the school nurse that they just tested positive for COVID? Absolutely. So certainly, our numbers are as accurate as the numbers. we’re getting, but it’s just one of those variables.”
The largest district in the state is Iowa, and schools in the district reported on their talents that about 140 staff members and 603 students tested positive between the start of the school year and September 28.
Iowa Public Health Association Executive Director Lina Tucker Reinders said some parents might not seek testing for children who may be ill with COVID-19. Additionally, she said, “They should, but they may not if children have mild symptoms that could be ruled out as a cold or allergies.”
On the other hand, Tucker Reinders also said: “I am a parent. I understand what it means if my child tests positive. It is two weeks out of school, potentially two weeks away from work. It is two more weeks of work from home (and education at home) through virtual learning. Let’s face it: the temptation is there to say, ‘It’s mild, it’s not severe if I don’t do the test, I don’t know.’ That’s not the right thing to do, but I understand that the temptation is there.”
Parents and Iowans will not know the true extent of virus activity in schools without regular testing. In addition to this, the state rejected $ 95 million from the federal government that could have helped with that.