CLEAR LAKE, Iowa — During a press conference Thursday morning, Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds issued new guidance for schools finalizing their return to learn plans.
If districts elect to move to either online learning or a hybrid model, the county the district is located in must meet at least a 15% positivity rate over a 14-day period, as well as having a 10% absentee rate, and requires state approval. If the positivity rate is over 20%, seeking state approval would be waived. Online learning would be granted on a case-by-case basis for a two-week period. Parents would still be able to request online learning for their child.
Clear Lake Superintendent Doug Gee says the district has a plan to transition from in-person to online or the hybrid model if needed, thanks to the districts one-to-one policy where students have a device to stay connected to learning.
"We're set up where we can do any of those three at any point in time, and switch somewhat seamlessly, and have kids all set up from an internet standpoint. They're all on Google Classrooms or Seesaw, so they'll be able to switch back and forth. I feel like we're in a really good spot that way."
In addition, if there is a positive case at school, districts would work with the Department of Health to determine who had potentially been exposed, and would then be quarantined for 14 days.
Gee is thankful that there is guidance regarding any potential cases.
"Now you've got that set statement from the state and the Iowa Department of Health, and pushed out through the Department of Education. It's specifically geared towards schools and it's coordinated, and sounds like they all worked together and they feel good about this guidance together."
During the press conference, State Epidemiologist Dr. Caitlin Pedati noted that young children are less likely to become infected with COVID-19 and less likely to transmit it, as data has shown that children 18 and younger make up less than 6% of the state's COVID-19 cases. However, she also emphasized that a safe return to class is dependent on people taking precautions to control the virus. Cloth face coverings should be used, as well as social distancing and hand washing. If a student is sick, Dr. Pedati says they should stay home.