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Statement from Mike Beranek, President of Iowa State Education Association, regarding back-to-school guidelines issued by Iowa Dept. of Education:

“We are deeply disappointed with the Iowa Department of Health and the Iowa Department of Education Reopening Guidance for Schools issued June 25, 2020. The ISEA believes a school district reopening model must ensure the health and safety of students and staff and prioritize long term strategies on student learning and educational equity.

The Iowa Department of Education’s reopening guidance is inconsistent with CDC Guidance, common sense and good public policy and we cannot recommend support.

Instead, the ISEA supports the National Education Association’s guidance entitled “All Hands on Deck: Initial Guidance Regarding Reopening School Buildings.” . The National Education Association worked with educators, researchers and health officials and built guidance based on four basic principles – health expertise, educator voice, access to protection, and equity – the document lays out what schools need to do to prepare for reopening, and how schools can make their reopening succeed far beyond the first few weeks of the new school year.

The challenges are formidable, but All Hands on Deck underscores the opportunity to learn from the past several months and pinpoints specific actions school districts can take to promote health, safety and equity in our schools.

Our students and our staff deserve nothing less than our full and focused attention to their health and safety. We urge local school districts to act responsibly and protect those in your care. We call on school districts to create your own guidelines mandating face coverings, physical distancing and other safety protocols.

The ISEA will continue to fight hard to ensure Iowa’s students and educators receive the protection they deserve”.