Iowa City Schools, Teachers Union Suing State over In-Person School Requirements

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IOWA CITY, Iowa — The state’s largest teachers union and the Iowa City Community School District filed a lawsuit Wednesday over the state requirement that at least 50 percent of classes take place in-person, during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Iowa State Education Association claims Governor Kim Reynolds exceeded her authority through that requirement, and are asking the court to determine school districts have the ultimate authority in determining the content of return-to-learn plans.

Jay Hammond, an attorney for the Iowa State Education Association, says the governor is misinterpreting a law passed by the legislature in June that allowed flexibility in state law as schools re-open in the unchecked pandemic. Hammond says he doesn’t know how the governor arrived at her determination that schools must offer in-class instruction at least 50% of the time.

The union is asking for quick resolution to the lawsuit. Des Moines and Iowa City school districts are both planning to begin their fall semesters online-only despite not meeting public health thresholds set by the state.


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