We break down Governor Reynolds’ press conference on schools so you don’t have to.

Friday, July 17th, Governor Reynolds announced a new disaster proclamation that helps implement legislation (SF 2310), protocols, and best practices all focused on bringing kids back to the classrooms safely. That announcement shouldn’t surprise anyone, the governor has said she wants kids back in school and that COVID19 isn’t going away, and we have to learn to live with the virus. 

“While we all know this school year will be different than ever before, it’s critical that we prioritize bringing Iowa’s children back to the classroom safely and responsibly,” Gov. Reynolds said in her remarks. 

She called on schools to align their Return to Learn plans with some very important principles, ones we can all agree on. 

  • Schools must provide in-person learning for core academic subjects including science, math, reading and social studies. 
  • Parents also have the option of choosing the learning model that’s best for their children and family, based on health considerations or personal preference. 
  • Remote learning can happen, but it is not as the primary source, defined by the DOE as 50%. 
  • If necessary the governor has the authority to call on schools to completely move online/remote learning. 

The Governor’s Office, The Iowa Department of Education and the Department of Public Health have worked together to provide guidance for school districts that support returning to school safely and responsibly. These guidelines include how to encourage social distancing, hand washing, face coverings, and about the need to not come to school sick. 

As we move closer to the beginning of the school year, the Iowa Department of Education and the Department of Public Health are developing additional guidance to help schools manage virus activity when positive cases are identified among students, teachers or staff.