KAUKAUNA — The Kaukauna Area School District is following national trends with a dramatic surge over the past week in COVID-19 cases.

As of Thursday, the school district dashboard showed the highest number of positive cases among both students and staff for the current school year.

Seventy-nine students and 26 staff are listed as COVID-19 positive, which is the highest total since the previous peak on Nov. 6 when 74 students and five staff were positive.

Student cases had dropped to a low of nine as recently as Dec. 19 before the holiday break and the recent surge in the Omicron variant.

Roughly two percent of the student population has tested positive during the current school year and 440 students have returned following COVID-19.

The highest number of postive cases Thursday was at Kaukauna High School, where 33 students and seven staff members were positive.

The Appleton School District also is battling its own spike in cases.

On Thursday, there were 282 students positive for the virus and another 106 quarantined, which means they have not tested postive but are currently under quarantine. If a person in quarantine tests positive for COVID-19, they would be removed from the quarantine case count and added to the positive case count.

Also, 59 teachers were positive with two in isolation.

Those totals are significantly higher than the last spike on Dec. 9.

Sixty-three percent of students in the Appleton School District currently are fully vaccinated.

Appleton Superintendent Judy Baseman told the Post-Crescent trhat the district will have a better idea what measures are needed after looking at data from this week, but moving the whole district to virtual learning isn’t part of the discussion.

In November, the Appleton School Board approved lifting the mask mandate on Jan. 18, but with the recent surge, the board may decide Monday night if they will delay lifting the mandate.

Kaukauna Superintendent Mark Duerwaechter has not yet responded to a request for comment.

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By Dan Plutchak

Dan Plutchak, born and raised in Kaukauna, is cofounder of Kaukauna Community News.