Two central Iowa school boards are resisting the governor’s order that districts begin the school year with in-person instruction.

The Waukee School Board and the district’s superintendent issued a written statement last night. It included what was described as “a reminder” to Governor Reynolds and other state officials that state law gives local school officials the power to establish rules for the governance of their own districts. Waukee Superintendent Brad Buck served as former Republican Governor Terry Branstad’s state education director for nearly two years.

Earlier this summer, the Urbandale School District had permission to continue operating its year-round elementary school online, but state officials notified the district students would have to return to the classroom this Friday. Urbandale’s school board voted last night to continue online classes at the elementary school until at least August 25. The board will meet again on August 10 to discuss its “Return to Learn” plans for all students in the Urbandale district.

Governor Kim Reynolds announced last week state education officials will only grant waivers from in-person instruction to school districts in communities where at least 15% of residents have tested positive for Covid-19 and at least 10% of students are absent.

The statement from Waukee school officials said they will not follow that guidance, but instead will follow other “sources of expertise which indicate more reasonable” standards that should trigger temporary suspension of in-person classes and a shift to distance learning.

(Photo from the Urbandale Schools website)