Gov. Kim Reynolds said Iowa schools will remain closed through the month of April to mitigate the threat from the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Keeping Iowa’s students out of classrooms is a very difficult decision, but it remains necessary for now,” Reynolds said in a press conference. “We anticipate the number of positive COVID-19 cases in Iowa will continue to grow and keeping schools closed for an extended amount of time will help protect the safety of our students, educators and school staff [...] and ultimately save lives.”
Reynolds said “at this time” she is not ordering schools to close for the remainder of the school year. The governor said she will continue to monitor the situation and use data to make make the “right decisions at the right time.”
The governor said it is important for Iowa’s schools to do their part to provide “continuous learning opportunities” for their students. The Iowa Department of Education issued guidance on procedures on continuous learning opportunities following the governor’s address.
The guidance differentiates between voluntary educational enrichment opportunities and required educational services. Voluntary options may include paper packets, teleconferencing, online instruction and other activities, according to the guidance. Required services are meant to ensure “academic work is equivalent in effort and rigor to typical classroom work. All students are required to participate, attendance is taken, work is graded and credit granted,” according to the guidance.
Public schools and accredited nonpublic schools are required to indicate which method of continuous learning they will use from April 13 through April 30 by submitting responses in the Iowa Department of Education’s Consolidated Accountability and Support Application system no later than April 10, according to the guidance.