Governor Kim Reynolds says studies show schools are safe spaces for kids and she’s praising Iowa districts which have kept all students in class 100 percent of the time. As for Iowa schools that have shifted 100 percent online or to a hybrid system with kids in classrooms every other day, she has a message.
“I would just encourage parents out there to talk to your educators, talk to your school boards and let’s get our kids back in school,” Reynolds said.
During a news conference late this morning, Reynolds invited a parent to speak about her frustrations with Ankeny schools. Sarah Barthole has a son in kindergarten and another in third grade and she says both kids are bouncing between virtual classes and some in-school class time.
“We’re not gaining anything by having our kids out of school. It’s time to pivot and move forward to get all of our kids back in the classroom,” she said. “My hope and desire is that my sons and all students will get to return to school full-time, in person at the start of second semester in January if that’s what their parents want for them.”
Governor Reynolds told reporters current state law limits her ability to change the waiver system that allows schools to shift to part-time in person or full-time online, but hinted legislators could and should change that.
“I think we need to do everything we can right now to get our kids back in the classroom and I believe that the data supports that,” Reynolds said. “I believe eventually we’re going to potentially be doing more harm than we are by keeping them out of school and I think the data every day continues to support that decision for a whole host of reasons.”
The governor has extended her public health emergency proclamation that was set to expire tomorrow for another week. It requires face coverings in many public places and limits the number of people who may gather indoor and outdoors.
“We’ve made good progress over the last few weeks, but our ultimate goal is to get virus activity to a level that we can manage over the next few months,” Reynolds said. “I want to take this time to thank Iowans for stepping up and doing your part and I hope you’ve seen how that effort has paid off. We really can stop the spread of the virus if we continue to work together.”
Reynolds also has clarified that 10 p.m. is to be “last call” for alcohol served in Iowa bars, restaurants and casinos rather than a closing time of 10 p.m. The governor is also letting organized sports for kids and adults — including bowling leagues — resume, but spectators are limited to two per participant.
“The same two-spectator rule that also applies to high school athletes will extended to spectators for cheerleaders, band members and others performing at high school sporting events,” Reynolds said.
The governor announced the state has contracted with 104 out-of-state nurses to work in Iowa hospitals through the end of the month, 80 of whom are already on the job. The state is also providing a 30-day supply of face masks, gowns and gloves to all 432 Iowa nursing homes, at no charge. The state website shows more than 5713 nursing home residents and staff have active Covid infections, with Covid outbreaks at 141 facilities.