Governor Kim Reynolds is calling on officials from Des Moines Public Schools to meet with state officials and come up with a plan to get the district’s students back in the classroom. Most Des Moines students started the school year this week online — without a state waiver to do so.

“Online learning is great for families who have the means to make it work,” Reynolds said late this morning, “but it’s not so good for those who live in stressed economic conditions.”

According to the governor, more than three-quarters of the students in the Des Moines district qualify for free or reduced price lunch. And Reynolds said while parents with means can hire tutors to help their kids with online classes, there are many families in the Des Moines district who do not have that option.

“We just simply cannot afford to let our students be left behind, even in these most challenging times and I know without hesitation that members of the Des Moines School Board care about these issues as well,” Reynolds said. “and that’s why I’m asking them to meet with my team at the Iowa Department of Education and the Iowa Department of Public Health to work out a way to help get the district into compliance with Iowa law.”

On Tuesday, a judge refused the Des Moines district’s request to temporarily be exempted from the requirement that students return to classrooms. It means Des Moines students may not get credit for the time they’ve spent online this week.

The Des Moines School Board is scheduled to meet early this evening to discuss how to respond to the court ruling.