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Education is large concern for Iowans

Education is large concern for Iowans

The Capitol is beginning to get busy as we initiate the legislative process. Subcommittee meetings are the first step in the legislative process and are one of the ways Iowans can be involved in the lawmaking process. Instead of large groups of people gathering in rooms throughout the Capitol, subcommittee meetings are happening via Zoom and we are finding many advantages to conducting business virtually with lobbyists and constituents. Iowans who normally do not have time to drive to Des Moines to voice their opinion on a bill can now do so from the comfort of their home. I do still prefer in-person meetings over Zoom, but we are making due.

During the last eight months, Iowans have contacted me about a number of issues. One of the most prominent of those issues was education, and how students and parents have been suffering as a result of the pandemic. Parents want what they paid for – an education for their children.

When many students do not receive in-person instruction, their academic performance suffers. According to local news reports, 37 percent of students in Iowa City schools had at least one failing grade this fall. That is nearly double the number of students from the year prior.

Iowa children and their parents are demanding a safe, 100 percent in-person option to educate their children. In order to accomplish this demand we would like to see educators and related employees of public schools be prioritized for vaccination.

Senate Study Bill 1064 addresses this problem by requiring schools to offer a 100 percent in-person option. This bill continues the waiver process if significant spikes of COVID-19 occur in the community or the school district is unable to adequately staff their classrooms.

A new Center for Disease Control study states schools do not transmit the virus more rapidly than the larger population and transmission rates were significantly lower among elementary age students. This study is consistent with other studies conducted in the United States and other countries since the pandemic began in early 2020. This report states, “CDC recommends that K-12 schools be the last settings to close after all other mitigation measures have been employed and the first to reopen when they can do so safely.”

For most students, the classroom is the place they learn best. Parents and families with health concerns will still have the option for their children to learn remotely. Iowa schools can safely be open for in-person instruction so all Iowa parents have the option to have their children learning in the classroom, recovering their lost time and restoring their future opportunities.

Feel free to contact me with any questions or comments.

——

Jeff Edler is the Iowa State

Senator for District 36.

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