Iowa City, Iowa — The Iowa City Community School District was denied an injunction in its lawsuit against Governor Reynolds and the Iowa Department of Education on Tuesday, the same day Des Moines Public Schools was denied as well.
ICCSD and the Iowa State Education Association are suing to challenge the state’s ‘Return to Learn’ plans during the pandemic. Their lawsuit, as well as those filed by Des Moines and Ames schools, claim the state doesn’t have the authority to force students to return to classrooms and argue that decision should be made by local school boards.
Under the state’s guidance, students must spend at least 50% of their instructional time in a physical classroom unless they are granted a waiver due to COVID-19 rates in the community. Any instructional hours held by districts in spite of a waiver denial may not be counted towards year-end requirements for learning.
Both Iowa City and Des Moines schools sought immediate injunctions to stop enforcement. Both were denied, but their lawsuits both will continue in local district courts. Iowa City has been granted a waiver by the Department of Education since it filed its lawsuit.
The ISEA, who is suing the state joining with ICCSD, issued this statement Tuesday:
The ISEA is disappointed in the court’s decision. However, we know this is just an initial step in a longer process. We will continue to review our options and determine the best way to move forward. In the meantime, we will persist in our efforts to ensure our students, school employees and communities are safe. We are undeterred in this commitment.Mike Beranek, ISEA President