Gov. Kim Reynolds said that schools will remain closed through the end of this school year due to COVID-19 during her press conference on April 17.
"Believe me, I would like nothing more than to stand before you today and announce that Iowa will be open for school in May," Reynolds said. "But as we look at what the data is telling us now, I can't tell you with certainty based on the Department of Public Health data that they are providing to the office that early may will be the right time for students, teachers and staff to gather again in their classrooms. So therefore I regret to say that Iowa schools will not reopen for this school year."
Reynolds said this decision came from re-addressing and updating the order that Iowa schools would remain closed through April 30, and she wanted to give the schools a heads up in the direction they will be going. Reynolds said in response to a question that the official order will go out on April 30.
Director of the Iowa Department of Education Ann Lebo spoke about the plans Iowa public and private schools have been creating for online learning and the importance of creating "return to learn" plans for when face-to-face learning continues.
"Closing schools to the end of the year is not an easy decision, and we do know the challenges this creates, but we also know this decision is necessary to ensure the health and safety of those we serve," Lebo said.
Reynolds also addressed new coronavirus numbers within the state. She said there are 191 new positive COVID-19 cases in Iowa, which brings the statewide total to 2,332 positive cases. There have been an additional 926 negative cases reported which brings the statewide total to 19,460 negative tests.
She also announced that there have been four new deaths from COVID-19, which brings the total number in the state to 64 deaths.
More information on cases by region can be found at coronavirus.iowa.gov.
Reynolds said she has been working together with other governors all throughout the country discussing best practices of how and when to safely reopen the state and the region.
She said she has been working closely with governors from North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, Mississippi, Arkansas and Kansas as she has worked together a lot with those states on flood mitigation and about the levy system on the western side of the state of Iowa.