Legislative Update for 03/19/2020

Iowa Department of Education Banner with Mission Statement

Legislative Update for 03/19/2020

Shanlyn Seivert

Well it is official, we have entered unprecedented times. The legislature has agreed to suspend the legislative session for 30 days, most schools are closed for four weeks and are not required to make up the days, and if you have a restaurant where you go to enjoy a favorite meal, that indulgence will have to wait, unless it has a drive through. 

On Monday night, both the House and Senate worked to pass SF 2408, which the Governor has signed. The bill is effective upon enactment and provides emergency measures, supplemental appropriations, and waives the instructional time requirements for school districts and accredited nonpublic schools that are closed through April 12, in order to prevent the spread of COVID-19. The bill also authorizes the Governor to waive the instructional requirements, if school districts and accredited nonpublic schools need to be closed beyond April 12, due to COVID-19.

The circumstances have been changing rapidly, and will likely continue to evolve. I have included the link to the Department's COVID-19 web-page, which includes guidance and an FAQ. The documents address topics such as online learning, school lunches, students with disabilities, federal programs funding, assessment, graduation and several other topics. In addition, there are also recorded zooms one held on March 17 (IDEA guidance) and March 18 (guidance on federal programs funding and FAQ's). Also, on the COVID-19 web-page, you can subscribe to receive updates by email. 

The legislature has agreed to suspend the legislative session until April 15. The Legislative Council is authorized to shorten or extend the period as needed. The session was scheduled to conclude on April 21, however, if necessary to complete the work, the legislative session can continue beyond that date. In the meantime, legislators will continue to work on budget and policy legislation through video conferences and other means.

As information becomes available I will provide updates. In the interim, take care and stay healthy! 

Shan Seivert
Policy Advisor/Legislative Liaison
Iowa Department of Education
Cell: 515-326-5595
Office: 515-281-3399