Based upon outbreaks in long-term care facilities, severity of the illnesses, and the rate of hospitalization in Region 6 of Iowa’s Regional Medical Coordinator Center has been elevated to a level 10 on the assessment scale that is being used by the Governor and the Department of Public Health.
Region 6 includes Allamakee, Benton, Black Hawk, Bremer, Buchanan, Clayton, Delaware, Dubuque, Fayette, Grundy, Howard, Jones, Linn, or Winneshiek.
Based on that data, Governor Reynolds issued a new directive for Region 6 that began at midnight last Thursday and continues until 11:59 on April 30, 2020. The directive basically requires gatherings only include members of the same household. Weddings, funerals, and other spiritual or religious gatherings of more than 10 people are prohibited, and such gatherings with fewer people may continue.
The penalty for violating this directive will be a simple misdemeanor and that can be written by law enforcement. This directive leaves the previous proclamations in place with the exception of the additional limitations (household members only) on social, community, recreational, leisure, and sports gatherings. There have been no additional changes to any of the counties outside of Region 6.
School Closure Update
In addition to the additional restrictions on Region 6 announced Thursday, the Governor and the Iowa Department of Education announced Friday, that all school districts and nonpublic schools will be closed for the remainder of the school year and will continue to offer continuous learning to mitigate the spread of COVID-19. This also includes the cancellation of spring sports activities.
The governor and the Iowa Department of Education also announced that the state of Iowa will:
- Waive instructional time requirements for the remainder of the 2019-2020 regularly scheduled academic year for schools that continue to provide continuous learning services.
- Require schools to submit a Return to Learn Plan to the Iowa Department of Education by July 1 outlining ways they will address disruptions to learning as a result of COVID-19.
- Waive the requirement that schools start no earlier than Aug. 23, allowing school districts and nonpublic schools to make local decisions about the length of their 2020-2021 academic year. This means they can extend the school year by starting earlier than Aug. 23rd.
An announcement on summer sports activities and when other school-sponsored activities can resume will be made by June 1.
For more information, visit the Iowa Department of Education’s COVID-19 Guidance and Information webpage.
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