Kim Reynolds

Coronavirus Update - April 2, 2020

Kim Reynolds
April 02, 2020
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Well, good afternoon. We'll go ahead and start first with an update on then numbers from this morning. Today we have 66 new positive cases, including cases in three new counties, for a total of 614 positive cases in 62 total counties. We have today 750 negative cases for a total of 8,054 negative cases. We do have the ability to test 1,018 individuals through the State Hygienic Lab. We have 74 hospitalized as of last evening. 144 have recovered, and I'm sorry to report that we have had two additional deaths for a total of eleven in the state of Iowa. —

Today, I am updating the proclamation of disaster emergency to extend business closures and suspensions of non-essential and elective surgical data and orthodontic procedures, provide additional regulatory relief and continue the order to limit gatherings to ten or less all through April 30th. I am also ordering that school closures are extended through April 30th. Keeping Iowan students out of classrooms is a very difficult decision but it remains necessary for now. We anticipate the number of positive COVID-19 cases in Iowa will continue to grow and keeping schools close for an extended amount of time will help protect the safety of our students, educators and school staff, reduce the burden, flatten the curve on our health care system and workforce, and of course reduce the risk to our most vulnerable Iowans and ultimately save lives. At this time, I am not ordering schools to close for the remainder of the school year. As we have with all COVID-19 mitigation decisions, we will continue to monitor the situation, assess the measures that we have in place, and use data to make the right decisions at the right time. That said, it is also important that Iowa schools do their part to provide continuous learning opportunities for their students. And so many school districts have already taken the initiative to do just this — including rural school districts and private schools. I want to thank them for stepping up and finding a way to make this possible for their students and families that they serve. School districts know best what will work for their communities, which is why these decisions can and should be made locally. Making a sudden shift to virtual learning, it isn't always easy, especially during the crisis that we face now, but we can't let perfect to be the enemy of good. There are a number of ways that schools can continue to engage students during this time and it's each districts responsibility to do so.

Director Ann Lebo with the Department of Education has been working proactively with the education task force to develop a plan that defines options for continuous learning programs, including non-credit and for credit options. School districts will be required to select the best option for the students and families they serve and inform the state of their decision by April 30th. School districts that choose not to provide continuous learning will be required to make up the instructional time lost beyond what has been waived by the legislature. I also want to let school districts know that while we extended closes through April 30th and we continue to evaluate the information, I know that it's also extremely important to you when you're making your decisions to give you at least a two-week notice and we will plan to do that as we move through this process. So, at this time, I'd like to ask Director Lebo to provide more information about the plan. Ann?

[Director Ann Lebo speaks]

Thank You, Ann. And I want to thank you, your team and the education task force — the continuous learning task force — for the work that you've done to reimagine education for Iowa during this challenging time. It's really important that we continue to engage students regardless of these extraordinary circumstances and I appreciate your leadership in this effort. I also want to say a big thank you to Iowa's teachers, I know this is a difficult time, as a mother of a teacher, I know how much she misses being in the classroom with her students and wondering how they’re getting along, so I know that your students are on your minds as well and in your hearts. Iowa schools are among the best in the country and even now in this time of extreme difficulty, in challenging times, I believe that we can still shine and make sure that we’re providing every opportunity for continuous learning for our students. At this point I'd like to turn it over to Dr. Pedati to give some remarks.

[Dr. Pedati speaks]

Thank you, Dr. Pedati. And I just appreciate so much you and your team and all of the time and effort that you will have put in to really making sure that you're providing us with the best metrics and best data possible to make the decisions that we make as we move through this coronavirus pandemic. So, just a heartfelt thanks to everything that you're doing, I appreciate that. And with that we'll open it up for questions.

Reynolds, K.K. [DMRegister]. (2020, April 2). Gov. Kim Reynolds updates Iowans on the COVID-19 outbreak in Iowa (4.2.20) []. Retrieved on May 28, 2020 from