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‘I feel for those kids,’ Governor says about Des Moines Schools’ latest plan

DES MOINES, Iowa — Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds on Tuesday characterized the newest plan by Des Moines Public Schools as “a little movement,” but she said the plan — which in the best-case scenario wouldn’t return high school students to the classroom for another seven weeks — still doesn’t meet her requirements.

Monday night, the school board met for nearly four hours and approved a tentative plan that would bring back students from the current 100 percent remote-only learning to an eventual hybrid plan that would temporarily educate students at least half of the time in the classroom.

The governor requires districts to educate students at school for at least 50 percent of their instruction, unless they get her administration’s approval.

Des Moines defied her guidelines and has been educating nearly all of its students remotely since it began the new school year on Sept. 8.

The Iowa Department of Education has previously denied the district’s request for its remote learning plan.

“I feel for those kids. I worry about those kids and I feel for the parents,” Reynolds said about the latest Des Moines plan. “They’ve been out [of the classroom] since March.”

“It’s not in compliance with the law,” the governor said, “I don’t think that it really provides the certainty that the parents and students are looking for. It’s movement. It’s not a lot of movement.”

The school board plans to meet again Monday on proposed health metrics that include the level of confirmed cases of the virus that would be acceptable before students could return to the classroom.

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