Reynolds says schools will need to make up non-compliant online instruction hours

In a press conference Tuesday morning, Reynolds said schools that do not provide at least 50-percent in-person instruction to students will have to make those days up at a later date.


Katina Zentz

Gov. Kim Reynolds speaks during the Condition of the State address at the Iowa State Capitol on Tuesday, January 14, 2020.

Rylee Wilson, News Editor

Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds said schools that do not comply with her guidelines to have at least 50 percent of instruction be in person will not have online-only days counted as instructional hours. 

Schools that decide to begin the semester fully online, without permission from the Iowa Department of Public Health and the Iowa Board of Education, will need to make up those days at some later date. 

At a press conference Tuesday, Reynolds said only less than five schools have decided so far to defy the order. 

Last night, Waukee Public Schools voted to continue with all-online instruction without seeking a two-week waiver from the state. 

Urbandale public schools voted Monday to continue online instruction at Rolling Green Elementary School, though the plan was not approved by the state. 

“I want to be very clear. Schools that choose not to return school for at least 50-percent in-person instruction are not defying me, they are defying the law,” Reynolds said at the press conference. 

While Reynolds’ order says schools can’t provide online-only instruction without permission from the state, parents may choose to have their children participate in online-only instruction. 

Reynolds said the state is working with Ames and Iowa City public schools to secure a waiver to allow online instruction. 

As previously reported by The Daily Iowan, the Iowa City Community School District decided to delay in-person instruction until Oct. 1, prior to Reynolds releasing her requirements for schools. The district has applied for a waiver from the state to start the school year fully online.

Reynolds said school administrators who defy the order could be subject to discipline as well. 

Reynolds announced at a July 30 press conference that counties with less than a 14-percent positivity rate will be required to prioritize in-person instruction. A hybrid model can be used in counties with a 15-to-20-percent positivity rate, or a 10-percent absenteeism rate. 

Schools can request a waiver for online instruction when positivity rates in a county reach 20 percent. 

The current case-positivity rate in Johnson County was 8.4 percent on Monday, and it has hovered between 8 and 11 percent in the past week. 

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