SIOUX CITY, Iowa (KCAU) — With more than 300 students and staff members testing COVID-19 positive last week, Sioux city’s school board is discussing a return to mitigation strategies.

Superintendent Dr. Paul Gausman said he met with the Board Policy Committee on Tuesday to discuss a potential revision to “AR 907” which deals with district operations during public emergencies.

With COVID-19 cases surging in Woodbury County, Gausman said it’s important to do everything in the district’s power to keep schools open, including strategies like wearing masks. However, he made it clear: the temporary mandates would occur on a per-building basis and not be set district-wide.

“The school board would give me the authority to say that the numbers have climbed to a certain level in this building. I’m going to put a mask mandate in place for a week. Those numbers come back down again, we’ll move on afterward without that mandate still in place,” said Dr. Gausman.

Siouxland District Health reported a 31% positivity rate over the last two weeks but deputy director Tyler Brock remains optimistic that this trend will start to subside over the coming weeks.

“Most of the states that had this surge happen before us have peaked and are starting their decline. We’re still moving up a little bit so we’ve still got a little bit of time yet, we’re not in that decline yet,” said Brock.

Gausman noted that the district’s weekly dashboard reported 4.5% of staff are COVID-19 positive versus 1.3% of students and that the climb in cases are adding more difficulties to an already shortened staff.

“It has been a challenge more so in specific buildings. This is a very contagious strain of this virus and where it shows up, it can really run through. There was one building last week that we were watching really closely not because of student numbers but because of staff numbers and obviously we have to have enough staff in there to serve those students,” said Dr. Gausman.

The school board is expected to discuss and hold a vote over the revision to AR 907 at their next scheduled meeting at 6 p.m. Monday night.