Pandemic policy

Students at Cannon Falls are dealing with the effects of a rise in COVID cases in the school.


Nathan Baszuro

Students have to wear their masks during school hours due to changed protocols.

Walking through the hallways of Cannon Falls High/Middle School, the student body and staff all have a new item to remember to bring to school — a mask. Due to a recent rise of Coronavirus cases, the Cannon Falls School district has implemented a district wide mask mandate as specified in the Cannon Falls Area Schools Safe Return to School Plan. According to the plan, the elementary school is required to implement a mandate once 24 students and/or faculty test or are presumed positive for Coronavirus while the high school must use a mandate with 28 students and/or faculty with a positive test or are presumed positive for Coronavirus. On January 14, both the elementary and high/middle school met this threshold and a mask-mandate was instituted. 

The superintendent of Cannon Falls Schools, Jeff Sampson, is confident, however, that school will remain in person throughout the rest of the school and “With current vaccination programs and our mitigation strategies that we have in place, I am confident we will reach that goal.” He sees that the only way for the school district to return to distance learning is if the district does not have enough staff to teach in classrooms and run other faucticies.

Following the guidelines set out by the Safe Return to School Plan, the mask mandate will end three weeks after being put in place as long as the number of test or presumed positive cases fall below 15 students or faculty in the High/Middle School and 11 students or faculty in the Elementary school. One way for students to help the school district reach this threshold is to stay home from school if  “they have tested positive for covid … if they have symptoms consistent with possible covid until they receive test results,” stated Cannon Falls Nurse, Pam Wulf “Unvaccinated staff and students also need to stay home if they live in the same household as someone who has tested positive or has symptoms of possible covid.“

Wulf also suggested some preventive methods to limit the possibility of catching COVID including: receiving vaccination and booster shots when eligible, washing hands frequently and for at least 20 seconds, clean surfaces that are frequently touched, and cover coughs and sneezes. Students should also practice social distancing whenever possible and wear masks properly and ensure their entire mouth and nose are covered.

One suspected reason for the recent rise in coronavirus is the spread of the new COVID variant, Omicron. “Potential Rapid Increase of Omicron Variant Infections in the United States,” as found on the CDC website has found that the Omicron variant is much more contagious than previous mutations of the COVID-19 virus as it has a “increased transmissibility and the ability of the variant to evade immunity conferred by past infection or vaccination” However, the Omicron variant does have similarities with previous Delta variant. Wulf explains that “Some of the symptoms of the Omicron and Delta variants are the same.  Symptoms common to both strains have included fatigue, runny nose or congestion, sore throat, cough, body aches, chills, fever and headache. Last fall, when the Delta variant was more common, it seemed that a lot of people lost their taste and/or smell. With this recent wave of positive cases loss of taste and smell is not happening as frequently.”

For up to date information on the number of cases in the Cannon Falls schools district, visit which is updated weekly on Wednesday and Friday. The CDC recommendations and information on COVID-19 in schools can be found here: