Iowa School Districts Start Move to Online Classes During COVID-19 Surge

DES MOINES, Iowa - Iowa school districts are starting to line up to apply for online only classes as the state's COVID-19 cases continue to surge.

Nearly 90 percent of the state's counties now have positivity rates high enough to allow schools to consider the elimination of face-to-face learning.

Some districts have already scrapped in-person classes while waiting for the state to respond to their request to do so.

Meanwhile, Iowa's largest teacher's union is asking that districts be allowed to move to online only classes without state approval.

"We feel that it maybe time for the department of education and the governor to rethink the waiver process and put that on hold and allow districts to make decisions which are appropriate for their communities and their school systems,” ISEA President Mike Beranek told WHO-TV.

The level at which school districts can apply for a waiver for online only classes is when counties have a COVID-19 positivity rate of 15 percent over a 14-day average.

Currently, 86 counties have passed that threshold, and five counties have doubled that level. Jones County in eastern Iowa has a positivity rate of nearly 43 percent.

Iowa has the 3rd highest rate of new COVID-19 case in the nation.

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