Iowa City schools looking to provide rapid COVID-19 tests for students

At the Johnson County joint entities meeting, ICCSD Superintendent Matt Degner said the number of COVID-19 cases in schools are the lowest they’ve been since the second day of school.


Jerod Ringwald

Members of the Iowa City Community School District Board listen to members of the crowd during an Iowa City Community School District meeting in Iowa City on Tuesday, Sept. 14, 2021. Members of the audience argued for and against a mask mandate within the school district.

Cooper Worth, News Reporter

Iowa City Community School District has submitted a request to the state to provide COVID-19 tests for its students and faculty.

ICCSD will collaborate, if the request is accepted, with the state’s Test Iowa COVID-19 program, ICCSD Superintendent Matt Degner said at the Monday joint entities meeting with other Johnson County elected groups. The school district has yet to receive a response if they have been approved or not, he said. 

COVID-19 cases in Iowa City schools have hit the lowest point since the first week of classes, Degner added. 

“We’ve seen good trends in our data, we have positive cases going down,” Degner told the board. “When I left on Friday, we were updating the dashboard and it was our lowest amount of COVID positive students that we’ve had since the second day of school.” 

Classes began on Aug. 24. According to the district’s dashboard, as of Oct. 18, 10 students and three staff members are currently positive for COVID-19. 

Since classes started this fall, 291 students and 46 staff have tested positive for COVID-19.

Degner said the recent mask requirement, as well as students and staff remaining vigilant, have helped cases remain low.  

“All those different components play into it,” he said. “It’s not any one factor, it’s a multiple layered mitigation strategy that we’ve been continuing to use.”

Degner said the number of students that have had to quarantine away from school has also been recently declining.  

“The second most exciting [thing] I would say is the amount of quarantines were extremely down,” he said. “So we have kids staying at school and learning, and that was much more challenging without a mask requirement.”