36,000 Iowans sign petition asking Reynolds to reverse proclamation for in-person school

Published: Jul. 29, 2020 at 6:47 PM CDT
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DAVENPORT, Iowa (KWQC) - The Iowa State Education Association said 36,000 Iowans signed a petition urging Gov. Kim Reynolds to reconsider the proclamation requiring schools to meet in-person at least 50 percent of the time this school year.

“Gov. Reynolds was flat-out wrong with her proclamation,” ISEA President Mike Beranek said Wednesday. “Each of Iowa’s school districts have a unique set of circumstances they are dealing with right now, and there has never been a one size fits all approach.”

He called on Reynolds to rescind the original proclamation and re-issue another that places the health and safety of teachers, students and families ahead of politics.

The July 17th proclamation also loosened license requirements for substitute teachers suspending the requirement that they have a bachelor’s degree or higher, and it lowered the minimum age for substitute teachers from 21 to 20.

Reynolds’ proclamation came as a surprise to school districts, including the Davenport School District, which had planned to utilize full online learning for the start of the fall semester on Aug. 24, but have since adopted a 50% in-person plan.

During the Wednesday news conference held virtually over ZOOM, four teachers shared how the governor’s proclamation impacted their school district’s return to learn plans. One of the teachers was Maggie Reitz, a Language Arts teacher at Davenport West High School who expressed that forcing staff to facilitate in-person learning within a large urban school district during this pandemic had “destroyed any sense of safety I had in returning to school.”

The petition with the 36,000 signatures will be delivered to the governor’s office on Thursday. The ISEA collected the signatures via an online petition over the last ten days.

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