2 Iowa schools rebuff governor's return demand

A school custodian cleans a desk in a classroom.
Des Moines Public Schools custodian Cynthia Adams cleans a desk in a classroom at Brubaker Elementary School on July 8 in Des Moines, Iowa.
Charlie Neibergall | AP Photo file

At least two school districts in Iowa are refusing to follow the governor’s demand that they return students to classrooms, rebuffing the idea that the state can override what local officials believe is the safest way to educate their children as coronavirus spreads in their counties.

Gov. Kim Reynolds on Tuesday reiterated that the state will require at least half of a school’s instruction to be held in person and the state will decide when K-12 schools can send students home based on community virus spread and student illnesses.

She said at a news conference that districts will not be credited for days of home learning not approved by the state and that school administrators may be subject to “licensure discipline.”

“I want to be very clear schools that choose not to return to school for at least 50 percent in person instruction are not defying me, they’re defying the law,” she said.

On Monday, school officials in Waukee said they would not seek permission from the state to keep students at home. Board members in Urbandale, another suburban Des Moines district, voted Monday night to defy the state orders after the state denied a request for Rolling Green Elementary students to continue online learning.

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