Here's how Iowa schools decide whether or not to apply for remote learning waiver

With fall schooling continuing amid the COVID-19 pandemic, districts are updating their “Return to Learn” plans based on recent data and an uptick in cases.

As of Tuesday morning, 90 of Iowa’s 99 counties reported a 14-day positivity rate at or above 15%.

Iowa Department of Education Director Dr. Ann Lebo said Tuesday that 10% student absenteeism and the 15% county-wide positivity to request online learning are guidelines for school districts, not set rules.

“These guidelines are to assist districts when they are determining when they might want to use remote instruction, but they are only guidelines,” Lebo said. “The county positivity rate is just one factor that school districts and non-public schools should take into account and it may not be indicative of the positivity rate among their students and staff.”

“Each request to review to use remote instruction is reviewed on a case-by-case basis with our public health colleagues, and we have approved waiver requests that did not meet those specific thresholds.”

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