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On June 25, the Iowa Department of Education (DE) released COVID reopening guidance to k-12 schools for the upcoming school year. After significant push back from education leaders, teachers, and parents, the department quickly offered to take more input.

At just two pages, the guidelines are inadequate given the pandemic and more thorough recommendations should be given to keep students and teachers safe and healthy. Many concerns have also been raised about the DE not recommending schools require masks for students or teachers even if social distancing is not possible. 

The Iowa State Education Association, which represents Iowa teachers, said the state’s guidance is inconsistent with CDC guidelines, common sense, and good public policy. They’ve recommended the DE develop guidance based on health expertise, educator voice, access to protection, and equity. The National Education Association has also released guidance on reopening schools.

On July 1, schools will be submitting their online learning plans, called Return to Learn.  Schools will have to be ready for instruction in August by either in a classroom or online which will require access to the internet and a computer for students. 

Author: Art Staed