Phil Thompson

Committees in the Iowa House and Senate have approved a bill to require 100% in-person classes in Iowa schools.

Republican Representative Phil Thompson of Jefferson said parents in some districts haven’t had the choice to send their kids to school every weekday.

“As Iowa reopened its schools in the fall, the learning experiences have not been equitable for our children,” Thompson said this evening during House Education Committee debate. “National studies show that keeping children out of the classroom has resulted in significant learning loss.”

The bill is a priority for Republican Governor Kim Reynolds and has cleared the Senate Education Committee as well. Representative Tracy Ehlert, a Democrat from Cedar Rapids who is a teacher, said the bill is being fast-tracked before adequate safe guards are in place for students and educators.

“We are telling you what is going on and what is happening in these schools,” Ehlert said just before tonight’s House Education Committee vote.

The Centers for Disease Control released a report today showing there’s little evidence in-person classes in K-12 schools are contributing to the rapid spread of Covid-19. The CDC researchers recommended schools require face masks, maintain social distancing and improve ventilation systems to keep infection rates low.