Legislative Update for 04/28/2020

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Legislative Update for 04/28/2020

Shanlyn Seivert

With the majority of April in the rearview mirror and the month of May just ahead, it's hard to believe we have entered our seventh week of a strange new lifestyle. Almost everything has needed to be adjusted; how we conduct business, medical protocols, and of course, how our children receive an education, just to name a few! 

On April 17, the Governor announced that Iowa schools will not reopen this school year and that school districts will be required to submit a "Return to Learn" plan documenting how they will transition students back to school when that is possible. The Department of Education (Department) released initial guidance on the topic and has been reaching out to stakeholders for input. Schools will be required to submit their plan to the Department by July 1, in accordance with recommendations from the Continuous Learning Taskforce. Detailed guidance and a template for submission of the plans will be provided soon. In addition, Governor Reynolds has waived the school start date for the 2020-2021 school year to allow school districts to determine locally their academic year. 

The Department continues to hold weekly webinars, which cover a variety of topics, and those webinars are recorded and can be found on the Department’s YouTube web-page. Additionally, the Department has a COVID-19 web-page, where you will find resources, FAQs and guidance.  

On Monday, the Iowa Legislature announced that the session suspension will continue through May 15. The scheduled end date for the 2020 legislative session was April 21. It is unclear at this time, what the remainder of the legislative session will include once it resumes. In the meantime, legislators continue to work on budget and policy legislation using video conferencing and other means. 

Until next time, please be safe and stay healthy!

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