Iowa City School District Granted Virtual Learning Waiver as COVID-19 Cases Climb in Johnson County

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Iowa City, Iowa — The Iowa Department of Education will allow the Iowa City Community School District to begin the year online, granting a waiver on Tuesday one week after denying an initial request.

Johnson County is seeing a surge in COVID-19 cases tied to the return of thousands of University of Iowa students. 148 new cases were confirmed on Wednesday, according to the state’s coronavirus website. 29% of test results in Johnson County were positive on Wednesday.

The Iowa City district re-applied for a waiver on Wednesday and it was granted the same day. The district is approved to go to virtual learning only for the first two weeks of the school year. Students will not be eligible for extracurricular events during that time, including athletics.

The district’s first request for a waiver was denied earlier this month by the Department of Education. The district responded by filing a lawsuit against the state, asking a judge to throw out the waiver process and the Governor’s in-class education requirements and allow school boards to decide when to bring kids back to class. Des Moines and Ames schools are both taking legal action as well after being denied.

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