As new cases of COVID-19 increase in some northwest Iowa counties, local school administrators say they’re doing what they can to keep students in class.

More than 200 students and staff in the Sibley-Ocheyedan Community School District are in isolation or quarantine because of COVID-19 and that includes Superintendent James Craig. Craig says rather than move to virtual instruction, the district is developing a plan to split up classrooms.

“By increasing social distancing, we’re keeping ourselves in control of what is most important to us,” Craig says, “and that is having the safest learning environment for our students possible and keeping them in school.”

Craig hopes to have the new seating schedules ready when students get to school Monday.

“We’re trying to get every classroom carved down to an appropriate number of students to fit within the social distancing guidelines,” Craig says, “and then move classes around to make that happen.”

The superintendent at MOC-Floyd Valley says his district is renting four movie theaters for high school classes, so students can spread out better.

MOC Floyd Valley’s district stretches across Sioux and Osceola Counties. Sibley-Ocheyedan is located in Osceola County. More than 27% of Osceola County residents who’ve been tested for Covid over the past two weeks were found to have the virus. Sioux County’s positivity rate this morning is 30.6%.

(By Iowa Public Radio’s Katie Peikes/Photo from school district website.)