A rising trend of positive COVID-19 cases has forced a third northeast Iowa school district to cancel classes.

Starmont schools will be closed Friday to enable custodians to do a deep clean of the district's buildings and classrooms, Superintendent Troy Heller said. A letter addressed to parents, staff and community was posted to the Starmont's Facebook page Wednesday afternoon.

In the letter, Heller apologized about the inconvenience. He said district officials "are hoping this mitigation, along with a three-day weekend, will help with our current measures and procedures as we move forward in fighting this virus."

Data posted by local health officials Wednesday showed Fayette County's 14-day positivity rate was at 46.56% and the 24-hour positivity rate at 74%. According to the figures, 50 people were tested for COVID-19 between 10:30 AM Tuesday and 10:30 AM Wednesday and 37 tested positive.

Since the pandemic began in March, 647 positive cases of the coronavirus have been reported in Fayette County, along with six deaths.

According to Superintendent Heller, Starmont Schools will be open again Monday.

Classes for Charles City High School and Middle School students were canceled Thursday and Friday this week, as a precaution, due to a possible COVID-19 case involving a food service worker. The Janesville Consolidated School District closed Tuesday and switched to virtual learning Wednesday after 14-day positivity rates soared about 20% in Black Hawk and Bremer Counties.

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