VAN METER, Iowa (Gray News) - Republican Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds has ordered school districts to reopen classrooms in the fall.
Reynolds signed a proclamation Friday which would only allow districts to temporarily move to online learning if the state's education and public health departments approve the change.
School districts and local health departments will have the authority to move certain students or classrooms to remote learning, but they won’t have the authority to make the transition for an entire school. Children would be allowed to receive remote learning with parental consent.
"While we all know the school year will be different than it's ever been before, it's critical that we prioritize bringing Iowa's children back to the classrooms safely and responsibly," Reynolds said.
The proclamation came with some criticism from the Iowa State Education Association, which cited record COVID-19 case counts as a reason why in-person instruction shouldn't be mandated.
"Today's proclamation does nothing to increase protections in our schools including how they will pay for extra PPE, disinfectants and cleaning, access to testing, contact tracing, and a host of other data driven mitigation efforts making them safer for students, teachers and school employees to go back to in-person instruction," ISEA President Mike Beranek said.
Beranek advocates for school districts to have more decision-making power.