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Gov. Reynolds: Iowa schools must prioritize in-person learning


VAN METER, Iowa (KWWL) -- Governor Reynolds held a news conference Friday from Van Meter, providing an update on schools reopening in the fall.

The main message from the conference was that schools must prioritize in-person learning for core academic subjects.

Reynolds said that schools will not be able to provide more than 50 percent of their instruction remotely unless she authorizes it.

She announced a proclamation that permits more than 50 percent remote learning only if the Department of Education and Department of Public Health determine that instruction must be temporarily moved to online learning due to public health risks.

Schools would have to go through a waiver and special consultation with the DOE and the IDPH to move to more than half-time online instruction.

On Tuesday, Iowa City Community School District board members voted to start their school year completely off-site, to avoid spreading COVID-19 among staff and students. The district will now need to reassess and complete a waiver if they wish to continue with this plan.

Under the proclamation, a school or individual student can move to primarily remote, if authorized, when:

  • Parents select remote learning as the best option for their family
  • The Iowa Department of Education in consultation with the Iowa Department of Public Health approves a temporary move to online learning for an entire building or district in response to public health conditions
  • A school, in consultation with state and local public health officials, determines that individual students or classrooms must be temporarily moved to online learning
  • A school chooses to temporarily move to online learning because of severe weather instead of taking a snow day

"We won't be able to completely prevent transmission of COVID-19, but taking these precautions can greatly reduce the risk," Reynolds said.

Department of Education Director Ann Lebo said the DOE will be active in providing support as districts may need to change or update their return-to-learn plans.

Reynolds is targeting August 1 as a date to provide another update.

View the full proclamation here.

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Andrew Pearce

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