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Gov. Reynolds: School districts that ignore state’s guidance are ‘defying the law’

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UPDATE

Come hell or high water, we will get through this.

Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds

JOHNSTON, Iowa (KTIV) -- Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds is standing firm in her requirement for Iowa schools to teach 50% in-person this school year.

Not all school districts appear to be in line with the governor. Some are defying a state order to get students back into classrooms in the fall.

During a news conference Tuesday, Gov. Reynolds responded to how some Iowa school districts are defying the order for schools to have students in class for at least 50% of learning.

"This morning's headlines read that some schools will choose to defy the governor by rejecting the very guidelines they request. I want to be very clear, schools that choose not to return to school for at least 50% in-person instruction are not defying me, they are defying the law," said Reynolds. "Legislature unanimously passed a bill, senate file 2310, requiring in-person learning as the primary mode of education and that's what we are working to implement."

The law the governor cited during today's news conference is Senate File 2310. Back on June 13th, the bill passed the Iowa House 95-to-0, and it passed the Iowa Senate 49-to-0. Governor Reynolds signed the bill into law two weeks later on June 29th.

The governor says if schools move to primarily remote learning without approval, according to Iowa law, those days will not be counted towards instruction time. This means those days would have to be made up.

Taking a closer look at the law, it says, "any return-to-learn" plan submitted by a school district or accredited nonpublic school must contain provisions for in-person instruction and provide that in-person instruction is the presumed method," end quote.

During her news briefing the governor was asked what she would tell teachers who were afraid of going back to school, and whether children getting sick is inevitable.

"It would be naive for us to think that at no point we're not going to see positive cases in school districts. We've seen positive cases in long-term care facilities. I've seen elderly people die because they're the most vulnerable. Do you think as the governor I appreciate standing up here and reporting those out?" said Reynolds. "We are doing everything we can to make sure we can to protect the health and well-being of Iowans. But we also have to think about the whole child and everything, we have to think about their livelihood as well.

Reynolds said Iowa's positivity rates are down, hospital rates are down, and testing is up. She says those numbers show Iowa is doing the right thing but admits the virus will remain with us for a long time.

As long as COVID-19 remains in the community, Reynolds says Iowans must do everything they can to defend against it.

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DES MOINES, Iowa (KTIV) -- Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds held a news conference Tuesday at 11 a.m.

The governor and other Iowa officials provided an update on the state's COVID-19 response and school reopening plans.

KTIV App Users: To watch the news conference on KTIV.com, click here.

Click here to watch the news conference on KTIV's Facebook page.

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