DES MOINES, Iowa- The State of Iowa is releasing more COVID-19 guidance for schools. Governor Kim Reynolds says the new school year will not be a return to normal, because of the pandemic, but also cited a number of studies showing children are not the driver of the pandemic. The Iowa Department of Public Health says Iowa mirrors those studies, with only about 6-percent of children testing positive for the virus, and those who do get it, having very mild symptoms and recovering quickly, unless there are pre-existing health conditions. Studies have also shown children are less likely to spread the virus to each other or to adults.
The Iowa Department of Education and the Iowa Department of Public Health are recommending districts base their plans for in-person and remote learning, based on the amount of COVID-19 activity in counties.
Communities with low virus activity would like see more in-person learning. Districts in areas with high virus activity would likely depend on more remote learning.
State Medical Director, Dr. Caitlyn Pedati says even with precautions, it's likely some districts will report a positive COVID-19 test at some point, and a number of steps will then go into place, including contact tracing, and quarantines for those who came in close contact with the person who tested positive. Districts can also get at 14-day quarantine waiver, in the event of positive cases.
Governor Kim Reynolds also says the state plans to give districts at 30-day supply of personal protective equipment to start off the school year, and then work to procure more PPE, to help prevent the spread of the virus.