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14 School Districts To Get Permission For Online Start Due To Derecho Damage

Charlie Neibergall
Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds arrives at a news conference to update the state's response to the coronavirus outbreak, Tuesday, Aug. 4, 2020, in Johnston, Iowa.

Administrators from 14 Iowa school districts have notified the state that last week’s derecho did damage to school facilities.

Governor Kim Reynolds today said she will issue an updated public health emergency proclamation that gives those districts permission to start the school year with online instruction.

“And, if districts conclude that the damage to their district prevents starting even remote learning, they may apply to the Department of Education for a limited-time instructional waiver,” Reynolds said.

That’s because internet service is spotty or non-existent in some of the areas hardest hit by last week’s storm.

“Around the state and especially in Linn County there has been significant damage to schools,” Reynolds said during a midday news conference. “I had the opportunity to tour Kennedy High School in Cedar Rapids where I met with Superintendent Noreen Bush to not only assess the damage, but to discuss it and the impact it would have on this school year.”

Bush announced yesterday that each of the district’s 34 buildings had been damaged by the storm and she used the word “horrific” to describe some of the destruction.

The following districts are on the Department of Education list as having reported significant damage to buildings/facilities:

  • Cedar Rapids
  • Linn-Mar
  • Marion
  • Grinnell
  • Marshalltown
  • Newton
  • Benton Community
  • Vinton
  • Shellsburg
  • Belle Plaine (high school and middle school)
  • Ballard
  • Summit Schools
  • South Tama
  • Calmus-Wheatland

These Cedar Rapids-area non-public schools are also on the list in addition to all early childhood centers:

  • Xavier High School
  • LaSalle Middle School
  • St. Jude
  • Regis
  • Pius
  • St. Matthew
  • All Saints
  • St. Joseph-Marion