As cases of COVID-19 continue to surge across the Quad Cities at increasingly rapid rates, local school districts on the Iowa side of the river worry about the impact teaching shortages could have on their ability to facilitate traditional, in-person, school opportunities.

“There won’t be any virtual learning in the state of Iowa,” Gary DeLacy, the superintendent for Clinton Community School District, said.

In January 2021, Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds signed into law a mandate for Iowa public schools to offer full-time in-person learning.

“The bigger concern for school districts like ours in the state of Iowa is going to be staffing levels,” said Tony Loconsole, a spokesperson with the Muscatine Community School District. “That’s something we’re monitoring closely.”

With not enough teachers or staff members to fill classrooms, Iowa school districts face limited options. Representatives from the Muscatine and Clinton school districts explained how in such circumstances even a temporary transition to entirely remote learning would be forbidden by law.

Therefore, the only option would be to close the entire affected school district, and have students make up the missed days later.

“I’m hopeful that it doesn’t hit us as hard as it has in other parts of the country,” Delacy said. “But if it does we’re going to have to make the necessary adjustments. If that means we’re going to have to make up some school, that might be the case.”