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DIGGING DEEPER: One week into school year area schools see COVID cases in classrooms

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(WAOW)-- A week into the school year and COVID cases are in some classrooms.

"Just because you're seeing numbers of cases in school it's very possible those kids were infected outside of school hours," Said Aaron Ruff, Public Information Officer for the Marathon County Health Department said.

Most area school districts started the year mask optional, including Wausau and DC Everest. Right now, DC Everest is reporting 12 students and staff have tested positive for COVID-19 which is about .22 percent of the population. In Wausau, there are 19 cases, about .18 percent.

Meanwhile in Stevens Point where masks are required, there are 21 cases or .28 percent of the population. In Marshfield, there are 13 active cases, .31 percent.

While it looks like the districts with masks are seeing higher cases, Wisconsin Rapids seems to be the opposite. They have zero cases in K-8 with requires masks, all 11 of the cases they have are in the high school where masks are not required. The Superintendent said it's possible masks aren't a denominator.

"A big delineator is the fact that we knew we were going to have cases and that would be true whether we require masks or not," said Wisconsin Rapids Superintendent Craig Broeren said.

Ruff says transmission is seen outside of school.

"A lot of the COVID transmission happens outside of the school building in the home, with friends and family, at the grocery store," he said.

Broeren agreed the issue is outside of school.

"COVID is around in the community and clearly kids are part of the community and staff of course, we're going to have cases," he said.

Broeren said they plan to keep things as they are currently but will re-evaluate if needed.

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