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Gov. Reynolds Signs Proclamation Overriding Local Control of School Reopening

Gov. Kim Reynolds says she will override local school districts and require students to spend at least half of their education time in classrooms. 

That’s despite concerns the move could endanger children and teachers as the number of coronavirus cases increase in the state. Reynolds’ decision Friday will invalidate plans implemented by some districts to limit in-person classes to one day a week for most students with online learning on other days. The governor’s actions are in line with the fervent recommendations of President Donald Trump. Reynolds says districts could seek waivers from the 50% requirement to the state Education Department. There will be no change in the Education Department’s recommendation that districts not require that students and teachers wear masks in school.

Woodbury County has reported 17 new positive cases of COVID-19 Friday morning.

The Siouxland District Health Department said the cases were detected out of 145 new tests.

Woodbury County has now had 3,417 confirmed cases of the respiratory illness, according to Iowa Department of Public health data. Of those, 3,137 are reported as being recovered, the health department reported.

Woodbury County has had 46 deaths attributed to COVID-19. Woodbury County recorded one death each of the past two days.

Yesterday,  three other Siouxland counties reported COVID-19-related deaths. Buena Vista in Iowa and Union in South Dakota each reported one death. Dakota County in Nebraska reported two deaths.

Siouxland District Health encourages residents to continue taking precautionary measures to help reduce the spread of the coronavirus, including wearing masks in public places, staying home if you or a household member are not feeling well, social distancing and frequent hand washing.

Iowa’s unemployment rate dropped to 8% in June as the state’s economy continued to recover after being hit hard by efforts to slow the spread of the coronavirus. Iowa Workforce Development reported Friday that the 8% unemployment rate was down from 10.2% in May. The number of unemployed residents dropped from 173,000 in May to 131,200 in June. Iowa’s unemployment rate remains far higher than before the coronavirus pandemic, as the jobless rate was 2.7% in June 2019. The national unemployment rate in June was 11.1%.

A convicted killer from Iowa whose five victims included two young girls is scheduled today to become the third federal inmate to be executed this week, following a 17-year pause in federal executions.

Dustin Honken, 52, was sentenced to death for killing government informants and children in his effort to thwart his drug trafficking prosecution in 1993. Honken's trial and sentencing took place in Sioux City.  Honken is set to die by a lethal injection of the powerful sedative pentobarbital at the federal prison in Terre Haute, Indiana, where he’s been on death row since 2005. His chances for a last-minute reprieve seem remote after the Supreme Court allowed the other two executions.

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