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PUBLIC HEALTH

Governor cancels rest of school year and spring sports

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Iowa students will not return to their schools for the rest of this school year, and spring sports are canceled, Gov. Kim Reynolds announced today.

"I regret to say that Iowa schools will not reopen for this school year," she said during her daily press conference this morning.

Classes had been set to resume next month about the time that the coronavirus pandemic is expected to peak in Iowa. Reynolds had said she would give two weeks' notice if she extended the school closures.

The announcement came on a day in which the state Department of Public Health reported the single-largest day of new confirmed coronavirus cases at 191. There were also four more deaths.

Schools must continue to offer online learning to students — either in a voluntary or mandatory fashion — through the end of the school year to avoid making up the closure days. They will also be required to assemble a "return to learn plan" to help students overcome their academic regressions during the closures, said Ann Lebo, director of the state Department of Education.

"It isn't easy, and we are doing everything we can to support our schools, families and students," Lebo said.

She said a decision on whether summer sports also will be canceled is pending.

The state also is waiving school start date requirements for the next school year so that districts can start earlier.

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