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Articles from January 2022

Contact Tracing Update (January 21, 2022)

On Wednesday, the Dubuque County Board of Health voted to support a proposal from the Dubuque County Public Health Incident Management Team to suspend contact tracing efforts for positive COVID-19 cases.

By Iowa Code, the Dubuque Community School District cannot engage in contact tracing and investigation without the involvement of a public health agency. Currently, the district contact traces as an extension of the Dubuque County Health Department / Visiting Nurse Association (VNA) and, as such, will also suspend contact tracing in schools.

The district’s protocols for those who test positive for COVID-19 or those with symptoms of illness have not changed.

In place of contact-tracing efforts, the Dubuque Incident Management Team will increase promotion of quarantine and isolation guidance as well as the Dubuque County COVID-19 “hotline” for questions and support.

The team’s recommendation follows recent decisions by other Iowa counties to suspend contact tracing, including Linn County and Johnson County, and is based on the increased level of community spread of COVID and the increased difficulty in reaching positive individuals.

Additional reasons cited by the incident management team include:

  • A delay in information sharing and reporting by state public health with local public health which prevents contact during the first 24-48 hours after diagnosis, the most critical period for spread.
  • An increasing percentage of contact tracing calls to residents by Dubuque County Visiting Nurse Association (VNA) staff that go unanswered.
  • New testing options like rapid at-home tests that are reducing the number of positive cases reported to public health, preventing contact tracing with these individuals.

The district, and schools throughout Dubuque County, are also experiencing these issues and support the change.

Updated CDC COVID-19 Isolation Guidance (January 7, 2022)

This week, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued updated guidance that reduces the isolation period for someone who tests positive for COVID-19.

The Dubuque County Health Department, the Iowa Department of Public Health (IDPH), and the CDC are all in alignment regarding this guidance and beginning Monday, Jan. 10, the guidance allows individuals to return after 5 days as follows:

Based on guidance from the CDC, IDPH and Dubuque County Health Department, individuals who test positive for COVID-19 will be instructed to self-isolate for at least 5 calendar days following the onset of symptoms OR 5 calendar days following the date the positive test was administered if the individual is asymptomatic. (Day 0 is the first day of symptoms or the date the positive test was administered if asymptomatic.)

Individuals may return to school after the 5 calendar days if ALL THREE of the following are true:

  • The individual’s symptoms are resolving or the individual continues to have no symptoms if asymptomatic
  • The individual continues to wear a mask around others for an additional 5 calendar days
  • The individual is fever free for 24 hours (one full day) without fever-reducing medication.

If all three of the requirements above are not met, an individual needs to isolate for the full 10 calendar days.

The guidance above will be provided to individuals who test positive for COVID-19 when they are contacted by the Dubuque County Health Department/Visiting Nurse Association (VNA) for contact tracing.

During the contact tracing process, the VNA will also give guidance for identified unvaccinated, household close contacts that their quarantine period will also be 5 calendar days with wearing a mask around others for an additional 5 calendar days.

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2022-2023 Free Four-Year-Old Preschool Registration Begins Monday, Jan. 10

Registration for free four-year-old preschool in the Dubuque Community School District will begin on Monday, Jan. 10. This includes 12 Dubuque public elementary schools offering preschool through the Statewide Voluntary Free Preschool Program. (Please note that due to space constraints, Hoover Elementary School will not offer preschool programming for the 2022-2023 school year.)

Parents and guardians may register students in person at the selected site, beginning at 7 a.m. on Monday, January 10.

Proof-of-age, preferably a birth certificate, is required to register a student. Other accepted proof-of-age documents include a passport or signed immunization record.

Preschool registration paperwork is available to complete in advance beginning on the district’s preschool webpage or in-person at all elementary schools. You can also find registration details and forms, as well as additional preschool information, online at

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