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Reynolds’ proclamation calls for schools to reopen next month

ICCSD and CCA to revise and finalize their Return to Learn plans

VAN METER– Governor Kim Reynolds signed a proclamation directing the state’s school districts to facilitate on-site, in-person learning when the 2020-21 school year begins next month. Reynolds signed the proclamation on Friday, July 17, and held a press conference in Van Meter.
While the emphasis is on in-person delivery of education, the proclamation does include provisions for remote learning if parents choose it for their children, and also approved a temporary return to online continuous (required) learning in the event a building or entire district closes due to COVID-19-related public health concerns. It also makes it possible for individual students, or a specific classroom to move to online learning in case of infection. Additionally, the proclamation paves the way for schools to utilize online learning in the event of severe weather rather than needing to use a snow day.
Reynolds’ proclamation also removed limits on how often, and how long a substitute teacher can be utilized, and expanded the pool of eligible Iowans able to serve as substitute teachers. Included are career and technical teachers already in the classroom, paraeducators and individuals with an associate’s degree.
“Iowa law says that in-person instruction is the presumed method of instruction for the school year,” Reynolds said. “Schools must prioritize in-person learning for core academic subjects including science, math, reading, and social studies. 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.”
The Iowa City Community School District (ICCSD)’s Board of Directors approved a Return to Learn Plan on a 7-0 vote during its regular meeting on Tuesday, July 14, which was based on remote learning until at least early October. The board was to meet again on Tuesday, July 21 (after this edition’s deadline), in a special meeting to address the Return to Learn Plan, and presumably bring it into compliance with the governor’s proclamation.
The Clear Creek Amana (CCA) Community School District presented its draft Return to Learn Plans to the board of directors during its regular meeting on Wednesday, July 15.
CCA’s plan includes three options: on-site learning, virtual (off-site) learning and a hybrid option (a combination of on-site and off-site), although the board’s discussion centered around the on-site option. District staff and families were contacted on July 16 with a Thursday, July 23, deadline for the completion of a survey. On Monday, July 28, through Wednesday, July 29, the administrative team and directors will collectively work to analyze the data and make a final recommendation to the school board. A special meeting of the board is set for Wednesday, July 29, at which time a final decision is anticipated. The board also will likely continue its discussion on racial and equity issues.
Both district’s plans are available for viewing on their websites: www.ccaschools.org and www.iowacityschools.org.
On Friday, July 17, the Iowa High School Athletic Association (IHSAA) announced it was preparing to begin the 2020 fall sports seasons “as currently scheduled” with the first practices for cross country, football and Class 4A golf to begin on Monday, Aug. 10. As of Sunday, July 19, the Iowa Girls High School Athletic Union (IGHSAU) had not put out a statement regarding plans for the fall season.