ATLANTIC – Between Oct. 22 and Nov. 19, the Atlantic School District had nine staff members and five students who tested positive for COVID-19, according to data from Atlantic Superintendent Steve Barber.

During the week of Oct. 22, there were three staff members and one student tested positive, and during the week of Oct. 29, there was one student and one staff member tested positive.

Only three staff members tested positive during the week of Nov. 5. Two staff members and two students tested positive during the week of Nov. 12 and only one student tested positive during the week of Nov. 19.

Twenty-two staff members and 260 students had to be quarantined from Oct 22 to Nov. 19, and the numbers break down as follows: Oct. 22- six staff members and 93 students; Oct. 29; seven staff members and 61 students; Nov. 5- three staff members and 38 students; Nov. 12-two staff members and 24 students; and Nov. 19, four staff members and 44 students.

Earlier this week, the Atlantic School Board approved continuing its mask mandate until Dec. 10. While board members Josh McLaren and Jenny Williams didn’t agree with a mask mandate — noting that it was difficult to wear a mask for long periods of time — they agreed that the mandate was helping to keep students learning in person.

“The only reason I would vote yes (to continue the mandate) is because of the quarantine,” Williams said. “I don’t think it’s right to quarantine healthy children and put that burden on working parents or grandparents.”

Barber said Wednesday that the number of COVID-19 positive cases was similar before and after the mandate was in place, but he said a month before the mandate, the number of staff that had to be quarantined was between three and 11. After the mandate was put in place, it was between two and seven. As far as students, before the mandate the number was between 35 and 92 students that had to be quarantined, and after, the number was between 24 and 61.

The data includes the 14 day average positivity percentage rate for Cass County which started at 20.9 percent on Oct. 22. It reached a peak of 22.1 percent during the period ending on Oct 29 and is currently at 17.5 percent.

Barber said the school district is not experiencing breakouts of the disease, and said as of Friday morning, five out of six buildings in the district did not have a positive case.

“Although our County and State’s positivity rate continues to be high, our school system to date has not experienced any breakouts in our buildings.” he said. “Our student attendance, outside of those who are affected by COVID-19, continues to be high and I get the chance to see the excitement our students bring to school each day.”

He encouraged families to celebrate safely during the Thanksgiving holiday to keep from spreading the disease.