DES MOINES, Iowa (KMTV) — Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds and other officials held a press briefing on Tuesday to discuss school reopening plans.
Reynolds doubled down on previous statements, saying schools must meet the in-person instruction requirement of 50 percent or risk the consequences. The consequences include extended school years to make up for lost in-person instruction with no extra funding and the possible revocation of licenses for those who fail to comply.
The governor said she realizes many Iowans are fearful of returning to the classroom and spreading the virus but that the gain for students and the economy must be considered as well.
Reynolds cited benefits such as mental and physical health, meals which many students rely on and teachers who, according to a cited study, account for about 15 percent of discovered child abuse or neglect cases which may otherwise go unnoticed. She said parents will still be allowed to make the decision to have their children learn remotely only and special considerations will be made for those who have the virus or underlying conditions that would put them at risk.
When pressed further on the risks and fears for students who may get sick or elderly teachers who may die from contracting the virus in a school setting, Reynolds' voice began to crack as she said the state will continue to take into account those fears and work with experts to strike a balance or make appropriate changes to safety protocols. She said numbers across the state are trending down as are positivity rates.
Reynolds said the state is continuing to work with some districts that have not begun in-person instruction yet or were not meeting the 50 percent requirement as part of their reopening plans.
One thing the governor continued to say is that plans are fluid and changes will continue to be made based on case numbers and health department recommendations.
You can watch the briefing below: