IOWA — Governor Reynolds held a press conference Thursday outlining new guidelines for how a school should handle positive cases and exposure of COVID-19 within a district.
Whether in-person, all online, or some hybrid of the two school districts across the state have been preparing for school to open during the pandemic.
“So, guidance from the state regarding how positive cases and exposure should be handled in schools is a huge part of this equation as we look at safely coming back to school this fall,” Johnston Community School District Director of Communications Laura Sprauge said.
Governor Reynolds stands by her requirement of students participating in in-person learning 50% of the time. This requirement forced the Johnston School District to revise its original hybrid plan.
“In that plan we had a 40% face to face time. And so when we revised it we bumped it up to that required 50%, and then it’s like half the kids go to school and what we would call the purple group, and the other half would go to school in what we call the gold group,” Sprauge said.
Students in Johnston and at all Iowa school districts can still opt to take classes entirely online.
“Parents do not need any kind of medical no towards the option to be online, anybody who wants to be online can be and that’s a very nice local control decision as well,” Sprauge said.
A Des Moines Teacher said online is the best option for students and staff.
“The bus drivers and the school cooks and the secretaries and the teachers. It doesn’t matter if someone is asymptomatic because a person that is positively infected with a virus can spread the virus to anyone. They come in contact with. And we are seeing exponential spread across the country,” Des Moines Roosevelt High School Theatre Arts & History Teacher Michael Davenport said.
Davenport said if in-person learning is the only option, he’s going to do everything he can to keep his family safe.
“I have a one-year-old here at the house and I’m not going to do anything to risk, making that child, an orphan, or getting that child sick. So, I’m going to do everything I can in my power to, you know, stay clean and avoid contact with people and stay healthy,” Davenport said.
Both Johnston and Des Moines school district boards are voting on their in-person hybrid plan in the first week of August.