Schools may close for longer


Hopes for area students to return to school in mid-April are quickly fading.

Area school superintendents are waiting for a definitive decision by Gov. Kim Reynolds, but they see school closures continuing through April.

During a Monday press conference, Reynolds said she is waiting for more formal guidelines from the federal government before reaching a decision, most likely by the end of the week.

On Sunday, President Trump extended federal restrictions on public gatherings of more than 10 people until the end of the month.

The current plan is to keep schools closed until April 10, returning to school on April 13. Mid-Prairie students are scheduled to return on April 14.

“I used to think we were 50-50 on returning to school on April 13,” said Ken Crawford, who is superintendent of the Highland and Lone Tree districts. “After the president extended public gatherings to April 30, I believe Iowa will follow suit with extending the April 13 date.”

He added that it could go longer than that. More states are canceling for the year.

“My hope is to get the month of May in for school,” he said.

Mid-Prairie Superintendent Mark Schneider said that he anticipates Reynolds to extend the closure period for the state’s schools.

“I’d be very surprised if it’s not extended to at least May 1,” Schneider said. “The big question is whether we will have to make up those days.”

When Reynolds announced the initial closure, she said that schools would not have to make up missed days.

Schneider wondered what the ramifications would be if the closure were not extended.

“If we went ahead and went back to school on April 14, can you imagine the number of students who would not come to school or the number of staff we would be short?” Schneider asked.

Most school districts will look to the governor’s recommendation on resuming school.

“If the governor says we can go back to school, we’d almost have to,” Crawford said. “We couldn’t waive those school days on our own accord without having to make them up.”


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