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Local 5 - weareiowa.com | Des Moines Local News & Weather | Des Moines, Iowa

Gov. Reynolds says Des Moines Public Schools the only district not in compliance with Return to Learn guidelines

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JOHNSTON, Iowa — Out of 327 Iowa school districts, Des Moines Public Schools is the only one without a compliant Return to Learn plan, Gov. Reynolds said Thursday.

"I believe that our students can safely return to school and to fall sports and I have consistently advocated for both," Reynolds said at a COVID-19 press conference.

A Polk County judge denied DMPS' motion for an injunction this week as the district argued the 15% threshold for county-wide positivity is too high and social distancing not possible for its students.

"I am committed to working with [DMPS] to meet the health and education needs of our students," Reynolds said.

The governor is asking district officials to meet with the Iowa Board of Education and Iowa Department of Public Health to get the district back in compliance.

WATCH: Gov. Kim Reynolds' full press conference for Sept. 10, 2020

The state's recent changes to school absentee rates also came up during the presser, as students in quarantine but without a positive test will no longer be considered absent

But Reynolds clarified that a 10% absenteeism for a district isn't set in stone as a requirement to apply for an online learning waiver.

"Those are guidelines and I think the thing we need to do is provide guidelines and we need to make sure we are doing it safely and responsibily for all of the reasons I've already talked about," Reynolds said.

Dr. Caitlin Pedati with IDPH also provided the following information about tallying COVID-19 deaths:

We work very closely with our vital records partners to receive information w hen their is an indication on a death certificate that coronavirus has caused a death. We use the information that we receive in public health about positive case results to put that together and share that on our web page. We do that as we get that information. Sometimes it does take a little bit of validation, sometimes it takes medical examiners some time to complete those certificates. But we check that information and that's what we share on our web page as soon as we've confirmed that. So what that means is that we might report a group of deaths in a given day, but the date of deaths, or the date that someone passed away, may have happened a little bit in the past. So again, it's an example of a place where I would say we work very hard to make sure we get comprehensive and accurate information put on our web page as quickly as possible.

And I think in addition o understanding the individuals who have passed away in association with COVID, we also try and share info about age and underlying condition to help people continue to understand. We know that there are people who are older or who have  underlying conditions who experience more severe outcomes from this virus.

71,929 Iowans have tested positive for the coronavirus and 1,205 have died as of Thursday morning.

On Aug. 27, Reynolds closed bars and breweries in six counties—Black Hawk, Dallas, Johnson, Linn, Polk and Story—until Sept. 20 because of the virus' spread near Iowa's public universities.

A week later, the small business relief program was reopened to help affected business.

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WATCH: Complete coronavirus coverage from Local 5 on YouTube

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