The Sioux City Community School District

pxhere.com

State health officials are reporting more than 12 thousand new COVID-19 cases have been confirmed in the past week as the spread of the virus remains high across Iowa.

More than a quarter of the new cases are reported to be in children 17 and under.

And 81 additional Iowans have been confirmed to have died from COVID-19 in the past week. This brings the total death count to 6,482.

The state is reporting 638 Iowans are currently hospitalized with the virus. That’s the high number of hospitalizations reported so far this year.

Sioux City Community Schools

The Sioux City Community Schools District’s new virtual learning academy the “Vibe Academy” uses the slogan “Learning Without Limits”. However, one local advocate says some students with disabilities are left out of equation. 

During Wednesday's special school board meeting surrounding masks in the Sioux City Community School District, some citizens talked about a virtual option for parents to send their children. However, as Siouxland Public Media’s Sheila Brummer reports that option is not available to all.

Siouxland Public Media/Sheila Brummer

No mask mandate for the Sioux City Community School District after the board did not have a consensus of support to hold a vote. Concerns were raised about disrespect from citizens who attended today's meeting

Prior to the meeting, the local teacher’s union president said there wasn’t time to meet with members to issue a stance on masks. Lesa Banks says there are educators on both sides of the debate. The state teachers' union hopes school leaders will focus on science and decide what to do next. 

change.org

A petition drive condemning Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds and lawmakers for passing a law banning mask mandates is gaining traction. Siouxland Public Media talked to the organizer, who says the safety of students and families is at risk.

“It started out with us just wanting to make a statement.”

Sioux City Community Schools

As school got underway for the Sioux City Community School District on August 23, the USDA recently announced plans to provide free school lunches to school districts across the country, a boost for those family greatly impacted by COVID-19.

Siouxland Public Media reached out to the Food Service Director for the Sioux City Community School District Rich Luze for more details. Here’s part of his conversation with Siouxland Public Media’s Sheila Brummer.

National Weather Service/Sioux Falls

Parts of Siouxland are under a heat advisory until six tonight. The heat index will climb easily into the triple digits. According to the National Weather Service, there is a chance for severe storms with hail and high wind. Plus, areas south of Yankton to Spencer will have an elevated risk for a brief tornado.

Due to the heat, Hunt Elementary school will have an early dismissal. While a new school is being built, students are attending class in the old Crescent Park building. It is the only non-air conditioned school in the district.

Dakota County Health Department

Tonight, the Sioux City Community School Board meets to discuss the district’s Return-to-Learn plan and Pandemic relief funding.

Students started last school year with a hybrid model of learning with two days in the classroom. That continued for a few weeks and again after the winter break.

The meeting starts at 6 p.m.

Iowa Department of Public Health

The Iowa Department of Public Health shows nearly a half million people have received the COVID-19 vaccine. One more Iowan has died for a total of 5,675 deaths and 216 in Woodbury County. The number of new cases has fallen to 138 with nine in Woodbury County, according to Siouxland District Health. 

Siouxland District Health recorded 8 new cases today with a 14-day test positivity rate of 7.5%. There are 18 patients being treated at Sioux City’s two hospitals. Positivity rates and hospitalizations have stayed almost the same for the past few days. Statewide 171 are hospitalized.

pxhere.com

The Sioux City Community School Board meets tonight and the issue of education during the COVID-19 pandemic will be a likely discussion.

Two board members sent the superintendent a letter last week calling for more transparency in reporting COVID-19 cases.  They believe they’re not seeing the full picture when it comes to absentee rates due to virus-related quarantines.

“There’s more doubt from what we are hearing from teachers and parents.” 

pxhere.com

The debate continues on K-12 education during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Iowa’s Governor wants to keep students in class.  A recent survey teachers in the Sioux City Community School district showed only 10% wanted to continue with in-person learning.  Siouxland Public Media’s Sheila Brummer explores the issue with a couple of long-time educator, union leader and school administrator.

Sioux City Community Schools

The Sioux City Community School District addressed increasing absences with staff and students due to COVID-19.  Even though no official action was taken, Siouxland Public Media's Sheila Brummer has more on the increasing concern with some school leaders when it comes to keeping students and staff safe.

Superintendent of Schools, Dr. Paul Gausman says some buildings in the district are getting close to moving to virtual learning only.

The state of Iowa allows a school district to move to virtual learning if the 14-day positivity rate exceeds 15% with 10% absentee rates. 

U.S. Government

Former Iowa Governor Terry Branstad, the U.S. Ambassador to China, will step down early next month.  This will end  a three-year tenure marked by a trade war and increasingly bitter relations between the world’s two largest economies. The U.S. Embassy in Beijing says Branstad confirmed his decision in a phone call with President Donald Trump last week. It did not give a reason for his departure.

pxhere.com

A Sioux City man faces charges of 1st Degree Murder and Willful Injury after a double stabbing in Sioux City overnight.

First responders found a 37-year-old man and 43-year-old woman with several stab wounds.  Both went to MercyOne where the man died and the woman is being treated for serious injuries. 

The suspect was found about an hour-and-a-half later walking near 21st and Nebraska near the location of the suspected attack.

Fifty-four-year-old Michael Landrum is behind bars this afternoon at the Woodbury County Jail.

404 noon news 072120

The state of Iowa reports another 503 cases of the coronavirus as of this afternoon. State health officials also report six additional deaths. The state has had more than 39,000 cases of the COVID-19 and and nearly 800 deaths.   

Woodbury County added 20 new cases of the coronavirus since today, and it now has a total of 3,472 cases and 46 deaths.  There were no new deaths yesterday.

Nebraska added 264 new COVID-19 cases today, and twelve new deaths.  The state has had 22, 847 cases so far. 

062620 404

Iowa and Woodbury County saw some fairly large upticks in COVID-19 cases today.  Woodbury County has 17 new COVID-19 cases, with a total of 3,112 and 43 deaths.  Iowa has nearly 500 new cases and 701 deaths.  

At a news conference his afternoon, Kevin Greime director Siouxland District Health, said he was disappointed with those numbers, and the reluctance of some people to wear face masks.

This week on The Exchange . . .

We check in with Tyler Brock of Siouxland District Health about the spread of the coronavirus in Woodbury County

Also, we talk with Sioux City Community School Superintendent Paul Gausman about the ongoing school closure and efforts to keep students learning until classes resume.

And we talk with Western Iowa Tech Community College President Terry Murrell about how the school has moved all of its courses online until the end of the spring term to prevent the spread of Covid-19.

032020 Noon

Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds has signed an emergency declaration designed to offer an array of relief to state residents as efforts to slow the spread of the coronavirus also slow the economy. 

The state public health emergency declaration, among other things, temporarily suspends collection of property taxes, some home evictions, and certain regulation fees and penalties. It also allows bars and restaurants to sell unopened bottles of alcohol for consumption off-premises. 

AP/Brent Isenberger

The Iowa Supreme Court has selected Susan Christensen as its new chief justice.

Christensen is from Harlan and was appointed to the court by Republican Governor Kim Reynolds in 2018.

The state’s highest court had to pick a new leader after former chief justice Mark Cady died unexpectedly in November.

Justice David Wiggins has served as acting chief since then, but Wiggins plans to retire in March.

091619 404a

A second Siouxland area ethanol plant is shutting down. The first was Plymouth Energy in Merrill, and now Sioux Center-based Siouxland Energy,  a farmer-owned cooperative, has also stopped operations. The closures at both Iowa ethanol plants are temporary.   A written statement blames the Trump Administration’s waivers so ethanol doesn’t have to be blended in gasoline produced at what the board said were “many large oil refineries.” 

091019 432

Woodbury County officials could move ahead today with planning for a possible new county jail. The Woodbury County Board of Supervisors meets today to pass a motion to set a Sept. 17thdeadline for financial advisor firms to submit proposals to consult on the project.  

091019 404

Woodbury County officials say they want to move ahead with planning for a possible new county jail. The Woodbury County Board of Supervisors meets today to pass a motion to set a Sept. 17thdeadline for financial advisor firms to submit proposals to consult on the project.  

062819 404

One the state’s largest healthcare providers announced today it is pursuing a merger with South Dakota-based Sanford Health. 

West Des Moines based UnityPoint Health has a hospital and clinic in Sioux City.  The transaction should be complete by the end of this year. That’s pending regulatory reviews. The merger would make the company one of the 15 largest non-profit health systems in the country. 

062519 404

The city of Sioux City and the owner of a popular summer hangout are working together to try and come up with a resolution over a campground.

Recently, the Ickey Nickel received notice that camping on the property isn’t allowed according to city zoning laws.

Several supporters of the Ickey Nickel appeared at yesterday’s City Council meeting to keep the campsite open. 

City Council Member Rhonda Capron is one of them.