Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds holds a press conference on COVID-19 at the State Emergency Operations Center in Johnston, Iowa, on Tuesday, May 19, 2020. (Photo Credit: Olivia Sun/The Des Moines Register)

DES MOINES, Iowa – Gov. Kim Reynolds announced that she expects Iowa schools to reopen for in-person classes in the fall. Schools are preparing for students to return after schools were closed for several months due to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Some school districts planned to stay online in the fall, and other school districts proposed a hybrid of online and in-person classes. 

“Iowa law says that in-person instruction is, is the presumed method of instruction for the school year. Schools must prioritize in-person learning for core academic subjects, including science, math, reading, and social studies. And the legislature has made it clear that most schools cannot provide more than half of their instruction to any student through remote learning unless I authorize remote learning in a proclamation,” Reynolds said in a press conference at Van Meter School in Van Meter, Iowa.

“We’ve heard from hundreds of Iowa parents who want their children to return to a structured, safe, and enriching academic environment. There’s so much more to school than academic instruction. In school, students learn to socialize with their peers, develop social-emotional skills, benefit from healthy meals and physical activity, a safe environment, as well as access to mental health and other support services that can’t be provided in an online learning environment,” she added.

Listen to the press conference below:

Reynolds signed a proclamation that clarifies when a school may move to primarily remote learning, authorizing it when:

  • Parents select remote learning as the best option for their family;
  • The Iowa Department of Education in consultation with the Iowa Department of Public Health approves a temporary move to online learning for an entire building or district in response to public health conditions; 
  • A school, in consultation with state and local public health officials, determines that individual students or classrooms must be temporarily moved to online learning; or
  • A school chooses to temporarily move to online learning because of severe weather instead of taking a snow day.

The proclamation also provides regulatory relief to address Iowa’s education workforce, including removing limitations on how often and long substitute teachers can teach and expands the pool of Iowans who are eligible to serve as substitute teachers.

Read the declaration below:

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