The Iowa State Education Association (ISEA), Iowa Department of Education (DOE), and the Iowa Department of Public Health (IDPH) don't see eye to eye on how to protect students and staff from coronavirus when the 2020-21 school year arrives. As a matter of fact, the ISEA believes information released by the DOE and IDPH was "irresponsible."

During a virtual press conference yesterday, the ISEA laid out safety measures that they believe should be adhered to. They include:

  • Face masks being required for all students and staff
  • Instruction on correct ways to wash hands
  • Moving desks/furniture to allow for social distancing
  • Markings on floors and signs to remind people of, and help with, social distancing
  • Put procedures into place that will screen and monitor both students and school staff

Last week, the Iowa Department of Education and Iowa Department of Public Health announced they were discouraging the use of face coverings and acknowledged schools "may not be able to guarantee physical distancing can be met in all school settings."

The next day, the Gazette reported the Department of Education announced the information they released "needs further clarification."

Not surprisingly, the Iowa State Education Association is frustrated. During Wednesday's press conference, Mike Beranek, the president of the ISEA, discussed the need for uniformity in recommendations. He shared that school districts throughout the state have been building 'Return to Learn' plans of action for a long time. We Are Iowa reports Beranek said,

What is really needed right now is definitive leadership and guidance. We do not need leadership telling us what we may want to, or this might help with no clear direction at the federal level, or state mandated guidelines. Our school districts are looking for clear guidance based in science and help.