On Friday, Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds announced that she will override local school districts plans, requiring in-person classes.
Cases of coronavirus are increasing in the state, but according to Gov. Reynolds, in order for the state to recover schools in Iowa have to open. Some school districts in Iowa, including Des Moines school district, the largest in the state, already started implementing plans that would limit in-person learning. Reynolds’ announcement will make those plans invalid.
Reynolds is following the recommendations of President Trump, who believes it is important for schools to reopen even if the cases of the coronavirus are surging all over the country.
Reynolds said that school districts will be allowed to seek waivers from 50% requirement to the state Education Department and exceptions will be considered if there is an increase in numbers locally. Also, Reynolds’ order allows an exception to parents who choose to have their children do remote learning only and accommodations to learn remotely will be made for any student if their caregiver or the person they live with is a high risk of getting sick with the virus.
State teachers union criticized Reynolds’ proclamation saying that this move causes students and school employees to face risking health unnecessarily.
Reynolds’ announcement comes out the same day that the Iowa Department of Public Health reports the highest total of positive COVID-19 cases in one day. As of July 17, there are 879 new cases of COVID-19 in Iowa.
The day prior, on Thursday July 16, the Center for Public Integrity come out with an article about a document prepared for the White House Coronavirus Task Force but not publicized that suggests more than a dozen states should revert to more stringent protective measures, limiting social gatherings to 10 people or fewer, closing bars and gyms and asking residents to wear masks at all times. Iowa is one of them. Read the article here.