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Governor recommends closing schools for 4 weeks

COVID-19 identified in more community-spread cases

By Bob Steenson,

Gov. Kim Reynolds recommended Sunday evening that Iowa schools close for four weeks.

“Based on new information today from the Iowa Department of Public Health, now is the time to move to the next level of response,” Reynolds said. “I am now recommending that all Iowa schools close for a period of four weeks to help mitigate the spread of COVID-19.”

Governor recommends closing schools for 4 weeks
Gov. Kim Reynolds

Charles City Community School District announced earlier Sunday evening that students would get another week of spring break, joining a growing list of K-12 and college-level schools in the state that are closing for various lengths of time.

The Charles City announcement was made before Reynolds issued her statement at about 8 p.m.

(See separate Charles City Schools article.)

Rudd-Rockford-Marble Rock School district announced Sunday evening after the governor issued her recommendation that it would close for the next four weeks.

“We understand this is scary and uncertain, to say the least,” the district announced on its Facebook page. “We will continue to plan and keep you updated as the day goes by tomorrow (Monday). We know you have lots of questions.

“Some of our planning tomorrow will be how to offer meals, how to deliver personal items that may be needed, etc. Our teachers will also try to reach out to you ASAP. Thank you for your support in helping us keep everyone safe during this trying time,” the RRMR post said.

Earlier Sunday, the Iowa Department of Public Health was notified of four additional positive cases of Iowans with COVID-19, for a total of 22 positive cases.

According to IDPH, two cases are related to international travel. The individuals are residents of Allamakee County. One is a middle-age adult between 41-60 years; the other is a child, age 0-18 years.

The third case is a middle-age Johnson County resident with no identified travel-related risk or exposure to a known COVID-19 case, and is considered the second case of community spread in Iowa.

The fourth individual resides in Polk County and is a middle-age adult and indicates a third case of community spread.

“One of today’s new cases was the first Iowa test conducted by a national lab. With testing options now expanding, Iowa expects the numbers of positive cases to increase,” the release from the governor’s office said.

“The state of Iowa is developing policies to ensure continued access to child care during this time of emergency, including meals for low income students,” it said.

Reynolds also signed a Proclamation of Disaster Emergency continuing the proclamation signed on March 9, allowing retailers that sell liquor, beer, wine, carbonated beverages and other beverages with an Iowa beverage container deposit to stop accepting empty cans and bottles for the duration of this disaster emergency.

On Sunday evening, the national Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) updated its mass gathering guidance to postpone for the next 8 weeks any events with 50 or more people.

COVID-19 was first linked to an outbreak in Wuhan, China, but cases have subsequently been identified in most countries, including the U.S.

Symptoms of COVID-19 include fever, cough and shortness of breath. Those most at risk of the virus are older adults, and individuals with underlying health conditions.

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