Iowa has a proud tradition of strong and effective public and non-public education. As I door knocked last fall one of the biggest questions I got was: When can I get my children back in the classroom 100% of the time? In order to continue that strong record, Iowa students must be given the option of attending school 100% of the time in person.
When many students do not receive in-person instruction, their academic performance suffers. According to local news reports, 37% of students in Iowa City schools had at least one failing grade this fall. That number is nearly double the number of students with at least one failing grade in previous years. If students fall too far behind academically, they will struggle to regain the skills and knowledge they lost, and their future education and career opportunities may suffer.
I am honored to be the floor manager of Senate Study Bill 1064 which addresses this problem by requiring schools to offer a 100% in-person option. This bill continues the waiver process if significant spikes of COVID-19 occur in the community or the school district is unable to adequately staff their classrooms. I am also excited to hear that the Governor will order that teachers in our schools be elevated to a higher COVID immunization priority.
A new Center for Disease Control study states schools do not transmit the virus more rapidly than the larger population and transmission rates were significantly lower among elementary age students. This study is consistent with other studies conducted both in the United States and in other countries since the pandemic began in early 2020. This report states, “CDC recommends that K-12 schools be the last settings to close after all other mitigation measures have been employed and the first to reopen when they can do so safely.”
For most students, the classroom is the place they learn best. Parents and families with health concerns will still have the option for their children to learn remotely. Iowa schools can safely be open for in-person instruction so all Iowa parents have the option to have their children learning in the classroom, recovering their lost time, and restoring their future opportunities.
Please join me with my good friend Rep. John Forbes at our upcoming forums sponsored by the Great Urbandale Chamber of Commerce on the following dates:
-Saturday, January 30th 10:30am.-12pm. Urbandale Chamber Office
-Saturday, February 27th 10:30am.-12pm. Urbandale Chamber Office
-Saturday, March27th 10:30am-12pm. Urbandale Chamber Office
-Saturday, April 24th 10:30 am-12pm. Urbandale Chamber Office
Urbandale Chamber Office is located at 2830 100th Street Suite #110 Urbandale, seats will be limited, virtual attendance option as well. Please contact the Urbandale Chamber for coordinates.
In the process of planning the Johnston and Grimes forums, announcements will be forthcoming.