DES MOINES, Iowa — When the Iowa City Community School District decided in mid-July to start the academic year fully online, it seemed like the only logical choice to administrators. The county was averaging 26 new confirmed coronavirus cases a day, some days as high as 70, and no one knew what impact the return of University of Iowa students would have on the eastern Iowa town.But three days after the school board vote, Gov. Kim Reynolds interrupted their plans.Reynolds, a Republican, signed a proclamation on July 17 requiring schools to teach at least half of all classes in-person, unless the district receives a waiver from the state. Waivers would only be approved if a county’s coronavirus positivity rate surpassed 15 percent. Last week, the state denied Iowa City’s waiver request, saying the county’s positivity rate was too low — 6.26 percent — to warrant remote instruction. Reynolds warned this month that students may not receive credit if their schools move online without state permission because it would violate a law enacted in June.“The decision we made was in the interest of trying to put health and safety above all else,” said Shawn Eyestone, the Iowa City school board president,


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