Iowa's Reynolds: Des Moines School District is slow-walking to compliance

(Des Moines, IA) -- Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds is reacting to the Des Moines School District's latest vote related to Return to Learn, amid the pandemic. School Board members voted 4-3 Tuesday night to move toward a hybrid learning program. It remains unclear though when that might begin and when students would return to class in person. Reynolds says the district has been engaged in a slow walk toward compliance and said the district's actions are unacceptable.

The state's largest school district has out of compliance with a law requiring 50-percent in-person instruction unless given permission for remote learning by the state. Des Moines' request for a waiver from the Iowa Department of Education has been denied. The DOE says Polk County's COVID-19 positivity rate does not meet the threshold for the waiver to be granted.

Ames and Iowa City districts have been granted two week waivers.

Reynolds today (Wednesday) expressed frustration that other districts in Polk County have found a way to develop and implement at hybrid learning model, in compliance with state law. Des Moines is the only district in the state that has failed to comply.

Iowa Department of Education Director Ann Lebo says efforts will continue to resolve the issue. "Our goal is to help them find compliance, our goal is to help them get kids in the classroom, and to learn and have the opportunities they need, and will continue to work with them on this, but there continues to be a challenge. I'm concerned about how this is going to impact families, students, teachers, and everyone else involved."

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