Sibley-Ocheyedan classroom desk dividers

Clear, plastic dividers are set up on students’ desks at the Sibley-Ocheyedan Elementary as a means of preventing potential spread of the coronavirus. The district confirmed Sunday one staff member tested positive for the virus and is self-quarantining according to public-health recommendations.

SIBLEY—The Sibley-Ocheyedan School District announced Sunday, Aug. 30, one staff member tested positive for the coronavirus.

“This is the first and only case in the district we are aware of at this time,” said superintendent James Craig in a statement released Sunday night.

The staff member was not identified; however, Craig said the person is quarantining at their home for the recommended 14 days from when they showed symptoms.

In follow-up comments to The REVIEW Thursday, Craig said classes in the district have been going fine since the announcement of the positive case and preventive measures are still being followed.

The district continues to recommend staff and students wear masks whenever they are unable to maintain 6 feet of social distance for more than 15 minutes and asks anyone feeling sick to stay home.

“We have some teachers that have requested that students wear masks in their classroom and the students have done a great job of obliging them when they’ve been asked to,” Craig said. “But everything is recommended, not required. If students and staff choose not to wear a mask during the day, that’s up to them.”

At the elementary school, students have plastic dividers set up on their desks to provide a protective barrier between their classmates while sitting down.

“That’s been really cool because the kids can still see each other, they can still talk, but those plastic dividers can be used as organizational tools,” Craig said. “Teachers have gotten creative, not just in having those barriers in place, but how they’re used during the day.”

Similar dividers are in place at the lunch tables at the middle and high schools. The tables also are limited to four students at a time.

Parents in the district are encouraged to take their children’s temperatures before sending them to school.

As of Friday, Sept. 4, there were 99 confirmed cases of the coronavirus in Osceola County, 84 of which had recovered. The county’s 14-day positivity rate was 9.6 percent.

The positivity rate is calculated by dividing the number of individual positive cases the past 14 days divided by the number of individuals tested over that time period.

School districts with at least 10 percent absenteeism in counties that have a positivity rate of 15 percent or more can apply for a waiver temporarily allowing more than half its classes to be held remotely.