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COVID-19 Guidance and Information

Date: 
Wednesday, October 7, 2020

The Iowa Department of Education (Department) is providing guidance and information for Iowa school districts, area education agencies (AEAs), community colleges and other stakeholders in response to an expanding global outbreak of the novel (new) coronavirus, also known as COVID-19. Guidance and information will be updated as additional information becomes available.

In addition to the resources below, the Department hosts webinars as needed for school administrators in Iowa. Webinar recordings and PowerPoint slides (as applicable) are provided on the COVID-19 Webinar Recordings for PK-12 School Administrators in Iowa webpage.

Note: Documents marked with an asterisk (*) have been translated and are available on the Translated COVID-19 Guidance and Information Documents webpage.

Requests to Move to Remote Learning for a School Building or District

A listing of school districts and nonpublic schools that have submitted requests and have been either granted or denied to temporarily move to 100 percent remote learning for a school building or district. Approvals are issued for two weeks at a time.

Resources for Families and Educators

School Meal Services

Providing Meals During SY2020-21

As published in the October 9, 2020 USDA Nationwide Waivers, School Food Authorities (SFAs) may choose to provide meal service under the Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) through June 30, 2021 or continue the National School Lunch Program (NSLP) and School Breakfast Program (SBP). The following resources were sent via email to School Nutrition Directors and Authorized Representatives on September 4, 2020 to assist in making their determination.

Connect with the School Nutrition Consultant in your region for additional information or visit the Department's School Meals webpage.

Community College

CARES Act for Community Colleges

PK-12

  • (9-24-20) Preschool Programming Frequently Asked Questions - Provides guidance regarding attendance, programming and services, and the use of different Return-to-Learn educational delivery models for Statewide Voluntary Preschool Programs, Early Childhood Special Education and Shared Visions Preschool Programs.
  • (9-21-20) Providing Services to English Learners (ELs) During the COVID-19 Outbreak Fact Sheet - Outlines the district and state responsibilities to ELs during the COVID-19 outbreak and is to be used in conjunction with the U.S. Department of Education’s May 18, 2020 fact sheet.
  • (9-16-20) Attendance and Absenteeism Guidance – Provides guidance for districts and schools when developing and applying attendance policies in remote and hybrid learning models, ideas for tracking remote attendance and the use of absenteeism rates for the purpose of requesting permission to temporarily move to primarily remote learning.
  • (9-8-20) Emergency Drills Guidance - Provides guidance on emergency drills for the 2020-21 school year, including those for fire, tornado, emergency operations, and bus evacuation. Unless communicated otherwise, all drills required by law are in effect for the 2020-21 school year.
  • (9-2-20) Career and Technical Education Classroom Guidance - Provides guidance on classroom and lab considerations for career and technical education (CTE) classes, broken down by CTE service area. This guidance is meant to supplement and not replace the protocols and expectations that local schools and health departments already have in place.
  • (7-20-20) Senate File 2310 and Governor’s Proclamation FAQs - Provides further clarification on guidance issued to help districts and schools implement the requirements of Senate File 2310, signed into law on June 29, 2020, by Governor Reynolds. This FAQ is meant to be read with the Senate File 2310: Guidance for Schools.
  • (7-17-20) Senate File 2310: Guidance for Schools - Provides guidance clarifying key provisions of Senate File 2310 (effective June 29), which addresses online learning, requirements for online coursework, funding flexibility, temporary instructional flexibilities and reporting requirements concerning the impact of COVID-19.
  • (7-1-20) Open Enrollment Guidance for Senate File 2310 - Provides guidance on open enrollment in accordance to Senate File 2310. This law extends the open enrollment deadline for the 2020-21 school year to July 15 for parents, guardians and caregivers to apply to open enroll a student at an approved online public school in certain circumstances where the student, or a person who resides with the student, has a significant health condition that may increase the risk of COVID-19. This guidance and form are only for use during the 2020-21 school year.
  • (6-5-20) COVID-19 Guidance: Use of School Facilities - Provides general principles that apply to facilities that are related to school districts or accredited nonpublic schools in accordance with Iowa Code and proclamations signed by Governor Reynolds, which allow facilities in certain areas to open under certain circumstances and permit a limited resumption of summer school activities. The Department defers to local districts, public health, the IHSAA, IGHSAU and other associations that support school activities to determine how and when activities will resume.
  • (5-28-20) COVID-19 Guidance: Summer Sports Transportation - Addresses considerations regarding school transportation for summer sports, including passenger screening, drive health and safety, general health and safety and social distancing measures.
  • (4-30-20) COVID-19 Guidance: Public School and AEA Fiscal Issues* (new topics are in bolded italics) - Addresses fiscal and operational issues around the tracking of COVID-19 expenditures, school budget review committee, staff payment, claims process, school nutrition programs, statewide voluntary preschool programs, open enrollment and tuition in-billing and payment, parent-paid tuition, foster care claim, contracted instructional services, special education consortia, canceled student trips, senior class account and school bus inspections.
  • (4-21-20) COVID-19 Guidance: Family School Engagement Resources, Best Practices and Considerations* - Provides ideas and resources for educators to positively and proactively engage with students and families/caregivers during prolonged school closures.
  • (4-17-20) COVID-19 Guidance: Teacher and Administrator Evaluation* - Addresses accommodations for conducting educator and administrator performance evaluations using virtual platforms.
  • (4-16-20) COVID-19 Guidance: Seal of Biliteracy* - Provides additional guidance for students who have not yet met the requirements to earn the Seal of Biliteracy and who are graduating in 2020.
  • (4-14-20) COVID-19 Guidance: FAQs* (new topics are in bolded italics) - Addresses advanced placement, after school programming, assessment, board meetings and action, continuous learning, donations, finance, graduation, health and safety, Medicaid, preschool, professional development, school improvement, school lunches and special education. In addition to the new topics, updates have been made addressing assessments, finance, preschool and special education.
  • (3-24-20) COVID-19 and Delivery of Postsecondary Coursework through Concurrent Enrollment and the Postsecondary Enrollment Options Program* - Provides guidance that applies to public and nonpublic student enrollments through a school district into postsecondary coursework in concurrent enrollment and/or the Postsecondary Enrollment Options (PSEO) program, as well as through a nonpublic school contracting directly with a community college for delivery of concurrent enrollment coursework.

Assessment, Accountability and Federal Programs

  • (7-14-20) Determining Proficiency for Senior Year Plus Programs - Provides guidance that outlines alternatives for determining proficiency for purposes of accessing Senior Year Plus programming since performance results from the Iowa Statewide Assessment of Student Progress (ISASP) are not available for the 2019-20 school year. The requirement to administer federally required assessments, including the ISASP, was waived for the 2019-20 school year in light of Covid-19-related school closures.
  • (7-9-20) 2020-21 Early Literacy Implementation (ELI) Guidance - Provides guidance that revises and extends the fall, winter and spring screening windows for 2020-21 and addresses remote assessment considerations, staff training, screening and progress monitoring recommendations, and interpretation of assessment results.
  • (5-13-20) Computer Science Professional Development Incentive Fund (CSPDIF) Grant and K-3 At-Risk Innovative Grant 2019-2020 FAQ - Addresses existing guidance for state and federal grant-based claims processes and includes additional guidance on the spending of funds, end-of-year progress reports, amendment submissions and online resources.
  • (4-30-20) COVID-19 Guidance: State Assessment and Accountability* - Addresses early literacy implementation, preschool assessments, desk audits, equity visits and Iowa School Performance Profile scores for the 2019-2020 school year.
  • (4-16-20) COVID-19 Guidance: Career and Technical Education/Perkins* - Addresses fiscal and operational issues related specifically to Career and Technical Education and Perkins for public schools, area education agencies and community colleges. This guidance applies only to the current COVID-19 situation and should not be broadly construed as applicable to other situations.
  • (4-2-20) COVID-19 Guidance: Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA)* - Addresses an optional waiver for the school year that allows Iowa to waive several requirements on assessment, accountability and school identification and certain reporting requirements. Also addresses training and support to schools.
  • (3-26-20) COVID-19 Guidance: Federally Mandated Assessments* - Addresses the administration of all federal required assessments during the 2019-2020 school year and addresses administration of the Iowa Statewide Assessment of Student Progress (ISASP), Dynamic Learning Maps (DLM) and the English Language Proficiency Assessment for the 21st Century (ELPA21).
  • (3-18-20) COVID-19 Interim Federal Programs Guidance* - Addresses federal program funds including carryover and updated dates related to quarterly reimbursement claims.

CARES Act for PK-12 Schools

Continuous Learning

Educator Preparation Programs

Reopening

  • (9-29-20) Reopening and Public Health Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) - (new topics are in bolded italics) Provides further clarification on reopening and public health guidance that was developed in collaboration with the Iowa Department of Public Health (IDPH). The FAQ includes explanations and examples regarding the transition between delivery models, monitoring 14-day average positivity rates, calculating absenteeism, requesting to temporarily move to primarily remote learning, counting days of instruction and the amount of time to make up if a noncompliant learning model is used, eligibility to participate in extracurricular activities, resuming in-person activities after a period of 100% remote learning, awarding of credit, close contact and whether or not to quarantine, among others.
  • (6-30-20) Reopening Guidance for Schools: FAQs - Provides further clarification on the Reopening Guidance for Schools that was written in collaboration with the Iowa Department of Public Health (IDPH) and released June 25. The FAQ includes explanations and examples regarding support documents and resources for schools, considerations and potential implications regarding the use of face coverings, the ability to maintain social distancing, temperature screenings and what to do if an outbreak occurs in a school, among others.
  • (6-25-20) Reopening Guidance for Schools - Provides guidance created in partnership with the Iowa Department of Public Health (IDPH) as a resource for administrators to determine how to safely open districts and nonpublic schools and resume all school activities starting July 1. This guidance outlines health and safety requirements, illness reporting procedures and school district closure authority if the governor proclaims a public health disaster.
  • (6-5-20) COVID-19 Reopening Guidance: Summer Learning and Activities - (revised topics are in bolded italics) - Provides guidance created in consultation with the Iowa Department of Public Health (IDPH) and local law enforcement as a resource for administrators to determine when and how to safely open districts and nonpublic schools for school-sponsored activities and learning. It must be used in conjunction with all proclamations issued by the governor and guidance. This guidance follows the most recent recommendations of the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) on reopening schools. Addresses extracurricular activities and co-curricular activities, but no sports other than those expressly permitted by Department guidance or a proclamation of the governor.
  • (6-5-20) COVID-19 Reopening Guidance: Summer Sports - (revised topics are in bolded italics) – Provides guidance created in consultation with the IDPH, Iowa High School Athletic Association (IHSAA) and Iowa Girls High School Athletic Union (IGHSAU) as a resource for administrators to determine when and how districts and nonpublic schools may begin to engage in school sports seasons while keeping participants and spectators safe. It must be used in conjunction with all proclamations issued by the governor and guidance provided by the IDPH. For guidance on the use of school facilities for activities other than baseball and softball, refer to the Department's COVID-19 Guidance on the Use of School Facilities.

Return to Learn

Special Education

Translated COVID-19 Guidance and Information Documents

COVID-19 guidance and information documents issued by the Department are being translated into Iowa's top six most used languages of Spanish, Arabic, Swahili, Karen, Karenni, and Vietnamese. Documents targeted specifically for families are being translated into the additional eight languages of Bosnian, Chinese (Traditional), Burmese, French, Nepali, Somali, Marshallese, and Nilo-Saharan. Translated documents will be added to this page as they are issued and updated.

Guidance from Other State Agencies on Education-Related Topics

The Department is providing links to guidance issued by other state agencies that affect school districts, AEAs and accredited nonpublic schools, as a convenience to Iowa’s educators and families. For specific questions about these guidance documents, contact the respective agency that released them.

Iowa Department of Human Services

(7-9-20) Pandemic Electronic Benefit Transfer (P-EBT) Program - Addresses food assistance benefits to households with children in K-12 grades that have temporarily lost access to free or reduced-price school meals due to pandemic-related school closures. The U.S. Department of Agriculture Pandemic Electronic Benefits Transfer (P-EBT) Frequently Asked Questions provides responses to many questions from schools on P-EBT participation, eligibility, benefit amounts and issuance of benefits.

(5-21-20) COVID-19 Childcare Summer Program Guidance - Addresses summer programming, including those programs licensed and regulated by the Department of Human Services (DHS) and summer programming and camps for school-aged children that fall outside of DHS regulatory authority.

(5-21-20) Tip Sheet for Families Seeking Childcare or Summer Programs During COVID-19 Pandemic - Addresses things for families to consider when considering childcare and summer programming options.

Iowa Department of Public Health

(9-29-20) IDPH 2020 Halloween Guidance - Provides guidance and recommendations for parents/guardians, community members, and operators of events and attractions regarding Halloween activities.

(9-29-20) COVID-19 Response: When to Quarantine - Provides guidance for non-healthcare, non-residential settings that states if both the COVID-19 infected person and the other person(s) in contact with them—even within six feet for 15 minutes—are wearing face coverings, the persons in contact do not need to quarantine. The COVID-19 infected person always needs to isolate in accordance with public health guidelines.

(9-29-20) Higher Education Guidance in Response to COVID-19 - Provides guidance for Iowa college and university administrators on COVID-19 plans and procedures, mitigation strategies and use of face coverings, testing for COVID-19, contact tracing, cleaning and disinfecting, communal spaces and food service, modified class formats, ventilation and water systems, among others.

(9-15-20) Information Sharing on COVID-19 Cases for Schools and Local Public Health - Addresses considerations for schools and local public health when sharing information about COVID-19 cases.

(7-30-20) Higher Education Guidance Operational Check List - Provides a list of considerations for college and university administrators in developing COVID-19 mitigation and response plans.

(6-4-20) Recommendations for COVID-19 Infections Associated with Baseball and Softball Teams - Supplements the Iowa Department of Education's COVID-19 Reopening Guidance: Summer Sports. The guidance addresses health monitoring, ill players or coaches, team exposures and exposures to other teams.

(5-19-20) Immunization Exemptions During COVID-19 Pandemic - Addresses immunization requirements, medical and religious immunization exemptions for the 2020-21 school year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

(5-18-20) 2020-21 Child Care and School Immunization Requirements - Questions and Answers - Addresses school and child care immunization requirements for the 2020-21 school year, including medical and religious exemptions, proof of immunization, provisional enrollment and information specific to immunization decisions for foreign exchange students.

(3-23-20) The Iowa Department of Human Services has issued new information for schools providing temporary emergency childcare for school-age children of essential workers. Essential workforce includes healthcare, first responders and critical infrastructure, such as food production, food service and grocery workers. Questions may be directed to EmergencyChildCare@dhs.state.ia.us.

Iowa Department of Transportation

(5-12-20) Temporary Waiver of Certain Driver’s Education Hours of Instruction Requirement - Addresses a temporary waiver of the requirement that the laboratory instruction component of drivers’ education conclude no later than 30 days after classroom instruction is completed.

(4-27-20) Temporary Waiver of Certain Driver’s Education Instruction Permit Requirements - Addresses a temporary waiver of the requirement for driver’s education instructors to verify at the beginning of each course that each student possesses a valid instruction permit or driver’s license.

(3-18-20) Temporary Change in Driver Education Curriculum Administration - Addresses a temporary option for approved school districts and driver education programs to teach "in classroom" traffic education through distance learning during mandatory school closures because of COVID-19.

Iowa Department of Inspection and Appeals

(6-1-20) Guidance for Concession Stands and Temporary Food Events During Covid-19 - Addresses mandatory requirements and recommended measures for social, community, recreational, leisure and sporting gatherings and events, including recommended components of mitigation plans and guidance specific to concession stands. This document also provides, consistent with Department of Education guidance, that concession stands may not operate on school grounds.

COVID-19 Webinar Recordings for PK-12 School Administrators in Iowa

Each week the Department hosts webinars for PK-12 school administrators in Iowa covering a wide range of education topics related to COVID-19.

More COVID-19 Resources

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Printed from the Iowa Department of Education website on November 24, 2020 at 2:05am.