Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds says Iowa school districts given permission to conduct ALL classes online due to high COVID case counts may do so for 14 days. Districts will have to AGAIN get state officials’ permission for subsequent weeks.
The governor says online learning also may exacerbate the achievement gap for underprivileged students who don’t have access to high speed internet or the devices necessary to do their schoolwork. Reynolds held a news conference Thursday and discussed how the state will address coronavirus outbreaks in schools.
State Epidemiologist Caitlyn Pedati says districts must notify the state if a child, teacher or school staff member tests positive – and public health officials will notify those who were in close contact to quarantine for 14 days. Pedati defines close contact as being within six feet of the infected person for at least 15 minutes.
Pedati says since the older you are, the more the risk of illness, teachers interacting with other teachers and school staff must be on guard.
The governor is not mandating face coverings in schools, but she says the state will help schools acquire masks, if necessary.
Iowa’s mandatory school start date law has been suspended, and schools may begin classes earlier in August.