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Iowa Education issues guidance for reopening PK-12 schools, face masks not required

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IOWA (KWWL) - The Iowa Department of Education is partnering with the IDPH to provide health resources and guidance for PK-12 schools on how to safely reopen.

The guidance outlines requirements, illness reporting procedures and school district closure authority if the Governor proclaims a public health disaster.

Starting July 1, districts can begin offering all school activities with the implementation of certain health and safety requirements.

Some of the notable health and safety guidance provided:

  • The requiring of face masks for all staff and students is NOT recommended. Schools are advised to allow the personal use of face coverings. Local decisions relating to face coverings can be made in collaboration with local public health.
  • The CDC does NOT recommend that schools screen students and staff entering the building, saying that showing one symptom is not necessarily indicative of carrying the virus.
  • Teach and reinforce hand washing best practices, with soap for at least 20 seconds
  • Students who are sick should stay home
  • Provide personal protective equipment (PPE) and training for employees who have a medium-to high-risk of exposure
  • Post signs on the best safety measures to stop the spread of illness and proper handwashing techniques.

The DOE says that schools should maintain confidentiality in any staff or student that may have the virus. Local public health may require contact tracing and self-isolation. The Department says that schools should have a plan in place to support the needs of staff and students that may be impacted. They should also communicate to families that if there is a health concern, they should contact a health care provider.

The DOE also noted that if a district communicates information differently than the guidance provided, they should consult public health and legal officials first and indicate that it is a locally-determined distinction.

Find the full guidance and list of health and safety requirements here.

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Andrew Pearce

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