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RPS superintendent gives COVID update after first few weeks of school

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ROCHESTER, Minn. (KTTC) -- Rochester Public Schools reported 81 total cases of COVID-19 over its first two weeks back in session and another 33 total from the first two days this week.

"There's some spread but it's very controlled right now. We have quarantined one class, otherwise, it's been individual kids or groups of kids," said RPS interim superintendent Kent Pekel.

81 cases is less than one percent of the student body. Right now, Pekel says he is keeping an eye on things but is not worried.

"There's some increase and we need to watch it, but it actually is not, you know, sort of an outbreak of COVID in our schools at all," said Pekel.

Public schools in Rochester are wearing masks, and one Mayo Clinic expert says the data suggests masking is helpful overall against all illnesses.

"We again had a national experiment that showed us that masks work in preventing all these respiratory illnesses," Dr. Prive Sampathkumar, a Mayo Clinic infectious diseases specialist said.

At this time in the year, the RPS superintendent says the guidelines are fluid, but for now, they are sticking to the plan.

"It does not seem to be at a level that is clearly suggesting we need to rethink the strategy, but it's too early to say it's working," said Pekel.

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Noah Caplan

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