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Urbandale, Iowa — The Iowa Department of Education has denied a waiver request from a year-round school in Urbandale to continue their semester online only, setting a Friday deadline for students to return to class in the building.

Rolling Green Elementary School began its summer semester last month with online only instruction. The district announced today its request to continue that way was denied. Urbandale’s superintendent says what comes next will be decided by the school board on Monday night.

The year-round school had been offering online only learning for more than a week already thanks to one waiver. Governor Kim Reynolds signed an executive order in July requiring all public schools to provide at least half of their instruction in the classroom this fall. At the time, Governor Reynolds said schools would be allowed to apply to waivers from that rule. Rolling Green was offered an initial exemption from the rule.

Last week the governor and the Department of Education released new information on public health thresholds that must be met for districts to offer district-wide online-only learning. Every county a district serves must have a positivity rate above 15% and 10% of students absent to apply for a waiver from the rule.

On Monday morning Urbandale Superintendent Steve Bass informed district parents and staff via e-mail that the waiver to continue online only learning was denied. Bass’ email says that online-only instruction will continue through this Thursday, August 6th. What happens on Friday morning will be decided at an Urbandale Special School Board Meeting.

That meeting begins at 6:30 pm and will be made available to the public via Zoom.