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Lawmakers to discuss proposal to require districts to provide in-person learning option

The study bill was introduced on last week and referred to the Senate Education Subcommittee.

DES MOINES, Iowa — Just days after Gov. Kim Reynolds asked for an in-person class requirement in her Condition of the State address, the chair of the Senate Education Committee submitted a study bill to do just that.

Sen. Amy Sinclair, a Republican, introduced the bill last week. The bill, if passed and signed into law, requires every Iowa public and private school district to offer full-time in-person instruction as an option for parents to choose.

Right now, parents can either choose to send their children 100% online or they must follow what the district decides at any given time, including five days a week of in-person instruction, hybrid schedules or temporarily online learning.

Since December, Reynolds has hinted she would like schools to offer full-time in-person classes. Some Republican leaders said they were open to it.

The governor directly addressed the issue in her Condition of the State speech on Jan. 12 after the legislature convened for the session.

“Tonight, I am asking the Legislature to immediately send a bill to my desk that gives parents the choice to send their children back to school full time,” said Reynolds. “We can’t wait any longer. And our kids can’t wait any longer.” 

Senate Majority Leader Jack Whitver said constituents across the state told Republican lawmakers they wanted their children back in school during the pandemic.

"It's important that we keep that promise that we made to the people of Iowa that we are going to do everything we can to get students in the classroom as soon as possible," said Whitver. "You know, to me, it's just immoral to let our kids fall an entire year behind because of this pandemic. And we have to balance safety with the desire to make sure our kids are being educated."

Many Democratic lawmakers have expressed concern about the study bill.

The study bill will be discussed in a Senate Education subcommittee on Jan. 25 at 2 p.m. 

You can read the full bill here.


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