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Iowa-Grant School District changes COVID-19 policy as sports in jeopardy

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The Iowa-Grant school district is now requiring COVID-19 close contacts to quarantine.

LIVINGSTON (WKOW) -- Before Thursday night, the Iowa-Grant School District did not require quarantines for students and staff who were close contacts of people who tested positive for COVID-19. However, that policy put extracurricular activities and sports at risk.

The district's volleyball team was supposed to play Fennimore Thursday night, but after the team had a positive test, the games were postponed.

Robyn Oberfoell is a principal in the district, and she said other schools in the Southwest Wisconsin Activities League (SWAL) were on track to cancel more of Iowa-Grant's games if the quarantine policy didn't change.

"They're pretty adamant that if we have no quarantining of our exposed kids, they will not play us," she said during a school board meeting Thursday.

Board president Renee Linscheid said the consequences wouldn't be limited to sports and would also apply to other extracurricular activities -- like forensics and math competitions. She also said SWAL wasn't the only conference threatening to not participate with Iowa-Grant.

"At this point, Black Hawk is issuing the same thing from a Six Rivers standpoint," she said. "They would not hold the football game tomorrow night."

While the board quickly came to the consensus they would need to change the quarantine policy, there was a lot of discussion about exactly how long the required quarantine should be. The decision was complicated further by the fact the Grant and Iowa County health departments have different requirements.

Linscheid said the Grant County Health Department sent the district a letter Wednesday night ordering the close contacts from the volleyball team to quarantine for 14 days.

Iowa County, on the other hand, requires a seven-day quarantine for people who test negative on day five or six and a 10-day quarantine for people who don't take a test but also don't have symptoms.

Students and staff have to follow the requirements for the county in which they live.

"We can align with Iowa County, but our Grant County students would fall under the 14 days," Oberfoell said.

The board decided to follow Iowa County's quarantine requirements. So, all students, staff and faculty will have to quarantine for 7 or 10 days if they are a close contact. However, the board said if the Grant County Health Department issues an order for a longer quarantine for any individual, that person has to comply with the order.

Reagan Collins is a parent in the district. She said she's glad the district is now requiring quarantines, but she wasn't completely happy with the board's decision.

"Having two different quarantining statuses for two different counties is going to be more work," she said. "I think it's also something that could cause resentment between kids and families."

Some people at the meeting were visibly upset when the board decided to require quarantine for close contacts. 27 News tried to speak with all of them, but they all declined.

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Caroline Dade

Weekend Evening Anchor/Reporter, 27 News

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