Cornfields, Common Sense and Community

Last week the governor announced a new website to give Iowans better access to testing, and give public health officials a better idea of how Iowa is progressing through the pandemic. It helps the governor make decisions on the activities safe to reopen and areas of activities needing to remain closed for longer. I would encourage everyone to take the assessment at TestIowa.com and determine whether you should get tested. Iowa has purchased hundreds of thousands of coronavirus tests and those tests will be available soon. This website is the best way to collect the information on where additional testing is necessary in our state and help make the best decisions for our state.

Recently, Governor Kim Reynolds announced schools would be extending their closures for the remainder of the school year. She also announced the Iowa Department of Education would waive instructional time requirements for the remainder of the school year, direct schools to provide continuous learning, and require schools to submit a “Return to Learn” plan. This plan will guide schools as they address the disruptions to learning this year in preparation for the fall academic school year.

The Iowa Department of Education released updated guidance on continuous learning as schools and families work to adapt to these changes. It answers a number of questions parents may have concerning their child’s education and how they are going to keep learning and keep up with school work while staying at home. Many school districts have been working with families to ensure they can participate in continuous learning online or with paper packets. You can find updates and information on continuous learning at educateiowa.gov.

The Iowa Legislature continues to plan its work to complete the 2020 legislative session. A number of policy and budgetary matters still need to be addressed this year. When the legislature reconvenes, it will continue to be mindful of guidelines for the large group gatherings from the CDC and the Iowa Department of Public Health, making sure to do its part to manage the spread of the virus.

As we look forward to closing this chapter in the Iowa history books, I want to thank the essential job workers for their sacrifice and determination to keep Iowa moving forward. I would also like to thank Iowans for their patience and understanding as we move toward getting our economy up and running again. My heart and prayers continue to go out to the families who have lost loved ones from COVID-19 health complications.

Let us not only remember 2020 as the year of the coronavirus, but let’s make the remainder of the year a testament to how Americans come together to overcome obstacles. We will add yet another brush stroke on the American portrait representing how faith, love, hard work, and patriotism prevail.