Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds has extended her recommendation for schools to remain closed due to the coronavirus pandemic, to now continue through the end of the school year.
Reynolds made the announcement during a press conference on Friday, April 17. The previous closure recommendation extended through April 30.
“I regret to say, Iowa schools will not reopen for this school year,” she said, citing data on the coronavirus pandemic in the state in making the decision.
The closure means the spring sports season also is canceled. A decision on the summer sports season will be made by June 1.
Reynolds said her order regarding business closures, which expires at the end of April, will be examined as more data is gathered in the next two weeks.
On Thursday, Reynolds increased coronavirus mitigation steps in Region 6, which includes Linn County and surrounding areas in northeastern Iowa, after the region reached 10 on the state’s threshold level, but fell short of issuing a “stay at home” order.
Region 6 includes Allamakee, Benton, Black Hawk, Bremer, Buchanan, Clayton, Delaware, Dubuque, Fayette, Grundy, Howard, Jones, Linn, and Winneshiek counties.
Gatherings in those counties are limited to the people who live in the same home, with some exceptions for weddings and funerals, which are still limited to 10 people.
Reynolds remains one of few governors to not issue a “shelter in place” order, even as numbers of confirmed coronavirus cases and deaths increase in Iowa.
On Friday, April 17, Iowa reported 191 new cases of COVID-19, the respiratory illness caused by the novel coronavirus, for a total of 2,332 confirmed cases statewide, and four new deaths. So far, 64 Iowans have died from COVID-19 complications in just over three weeks.
With relatively little testing overall, the confirmed cases do not represent the full extent of the highly transmissible virus in Iowa.
On Thursday, Heather Meador of Linn County Public Health, said 301 COVID-19 cases have been confirmed so far in Linn County, with 21 deaths.
Meador said two long-term care facilities have reported outbreaks: Linn Manor Care Center in Marion, where 15 staff and residents have tested positive for COVID-19 and two residents have died, and Heritage Specialty Care in Cedar Rapids, where 105 staff and residents have tested positive and 17 residents have died.