Policy & Legal Resources
investigation and adjudication is separate and distinct from
New! FAQ on COVID-19 Vaccinations
—An overview of employment-related questions that districts may face regarding COVID-19 vaccinations.
FY 2021 Sample School Planning Calendar
—Blank template with the Aug. 23 start date waived.
FAQ on COVID-19 Related Issues: Employment Law, Virtual Learning and School Finance
—Get the answers to frequently asked questions about how school closures impact employment law, employee pay, collective bargaining, virtual learning and school finance.
How School Boards and Administration May Communicate Electronically
boards and administration are encouraged to use electronic
communication methods when it is an efficient and appropriate means of
communication, keeping in mind they must comply with the requirements of
the Iowa Open Meetings Law. Read this document to learn about
communicating via phone call/video chat, text messaging, and email. Updated March 20, 2020 at 12:30 p.m.
New! FERPA and the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)
—The purpose of this guidance is to answer questions that school officials may have had concerning the disclosure of personally identifiable information from students’ education records to outside entities when addressing the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19). Spanish language version
Q: More employees in our school community are getting vaccinated. When can we roll back mask requirements for our district?
Proclamation Measures Impacting K-12 Public Education
A: Despite increased vaccination rates, at this time the Center for Disease Control and Prevention continues to recommend the use of face coverings in school settings for all individuals who are able to use them. This guidance has not changed, and should still be considered best practice for districts. Read more information on school safety measures related to COVID-19.
Q: Does the Governor’s proclamation on November 16 mandate that face coverings must be worn in schools?
A: Yes, but only when school buildings are hosting an external public event that includes members of the public. During normal school operation, the district maintains local control over whether to mandate face coverings.
Q: Our district would like to create a COVID-19 tracking dashboard to share with our school community information on positive cases in our district. May we do so?
A: Yes, but with limitations in accordance with the Family Education Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA). Districts may create dashboards to track positive cases, but the data must be shared in a non-personally identifiable form either by itself or when taken in the context of other information. The United States Department of Education has stated in their guidance FERPA and the Coronavirus Disease 2019, “. . . we caution educational agencies or institutions to ensure that in releasing such facts, they do so in a manner that does not disclose other information that, alone or in combination, would allow a reasonable person in the school community to identify the students who are absent due to COVID-19 with reasonable certainty.”
What this means for districts is that sharing large scale data, such as the number of total positive cases among students or employees would be unlikely to violate FERPA. However, breaking down the number of positive cases by school building, grade level, or classroom could violate FERPA, particularly if the broken down data is easy to identify. For instance, if a district has two positive cases in the second grade at ABC Elementary, then providing all of that identifying information could lead to discovery of who the affected students are by their absence from class. But if the district reports two positive cases among students districtwide, then it would be much more challenging for a reasonable person to identify the individual students.
Q: Can our board continue to meet entirely electronically?
A: Yes. On August 21, Governor Reynolds signed a proclamation extending the temporary changes to Iowa Code
Chapter 21 to allow for continued electronic meetings through September 20.
Boards must continue to provide electronic access to the meeting through
a virtual link or dial-in number listed on their agenda. Reasons
explaining why the meeting is impossible or impractical to hold
in-person should continue to be stated in the minutes.
Q: What steps must boards take to hold their meetings electronically?
A: Governor Reynolds signed a proclamation on March 20, 2020 easing the restrictions of Iowa Code
Chapter 21.8 during the course of the coronavirus public health
emergency. Boards must post a notice on their agenda that the meeting
will take place electronically and include a link or other information
allowing the public to listen in to the meeting through electronic
means. The requirement that boards have a physical meeting location
where the public can congregate to listen to the meeting has been
temporarily suspended. During this time period meetings me be hosted
entirely through electronic means. Proper advance notice of the meeting
in the form of an agenda is still required.
—On May 26, 2020 Governor Reynolds issued a proclamation addressing continued restrictions under the public health emergency declaration as well as providing guidance in many areas for reopening businesses and facilities, including portions that may have an impact on your school district.
Q: Can a school board continue to hold regular open meetings and protect the community from the spread of coronavirus?
A: The Iowa Public Information Board sent a news release on
March 11 detailing how to hold an electronic meeting when there are
valid concerns that an in-person meeting is 'impossible or
impractical'. Read the guidance from the Iowa Public Information Board and contact your legal counsel to discuss how and when to hold an electronic meeting.
HR/Employment Law Resources
Employment Law and COVID-19: Frequently Asked Questions
—This document contains general advice about employment laws and rights for employers to consider during the course of this global pandemic. Please note that this document does not constitute legal advice. It may be changed and updated as new information is released from various governmental agencies.
This PDF is the product of collaboration with member attorneys of the Iowa Council of School Board Attorneys group, who donated their time to this effort. Special thanks to Holland, Michael, Raiber and Sittig PLC; Ahlers & Cooney, P.C.; and Lynch Dallas, P.C. Updated on March 16, 2020 at 12:30 p.m.
Employee Leave Implications of the Families First Coronavirus Response Act
—On March 18, 2020, the United States Congress passed the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA). Among other things, this law introduced temporary emergency paid sick leave and emergency paid family medical leave. This document provides a summary of the new employee provisions in the Families First Coronavirus Response Act. Published March 27, 2020 at 11:15 a.m.
Conversations with IASB: Collective Bargaining During a Pandemic
—Watch this 10 minute video featuring ISEA Attorney Jay Hammond to learn about effective negotiations during the global health crisis.
Board Development & Digital Learning Resources
Review guiding questions for the governance team to discuss key health and safety factors when reopening schools.
COVID-19 - Maintaining a Productive Board/Superintendent Relationship
—Maintaining a strong board/superintendent relationship is critical during a pandemic. In these unusual circumstances, communication is critical. It is important for the board and superintendent team to strive for clarity on the roles of the board and the superintendent. This document contains key considerations for maintaining a productive board/superintendent relationship during the pandemic. Posted March 20, 2020
10 Ways to Continue (Digital) Board Learning During a Pandemic
—Schools may be closed to help contain the spread of COVID-19, but that doesn't mean you can't take time to invest in individual or board team learning. Now, perhaps more than ever, is a great time to brush up on essential skills and sharpen your knowledge. Consider these learning resources that you can participate in at your own desk, couch, kitchen table, or wherever you are working remotely from right now. Best of all, these learning opportunities are complimentary for members. Posted March 20, 2020
Tips to Look and Sound Your Best in Digital Meetings
—As you are navigating the ins and outs of digital school board meetings using digital platforms, check out audio and video best practices, visual recommendations and mindfulness tips. Updated May 21, 2020.
Leadership Through a Crisis: COVID-19 and Beyond
Air Date: July 15, 2020
School Finance Resources
Track COVID-19 Expenses
—In anticipation of potential federal or state financial assistance, we are asking all school districts to track COVID-19 related expenses. When the legislature prepares to reconvene, IASB will conduct a survey of districts to gather this information. Examples of costs you should be tracking that were not budgeted may include: Meals for students (staff costs for delivery, mileage, additional costs to purchase/prepare meals); cleaning supplies; technology (costs to provide access for students/families to continue learning opportunities, costs for equipment or technology to provide online learning opportunities); personnel costs for overtime or personnel not included in your certified budget for the school year.
Resources on Navigating the Financial Impact of COVID-19
—Access resources to help school districts in navigating the financial impact of COVID-19, including a Q&A document, video recording, webinar slides and budget implications checklist. Thanks to Forecast5 Analytics, Ahlers & Cooney, P.C. and PMA for collaborating with IASB on these resources.
Budget Implications Checklist
IASB Summary of the American Rescue Plan Act:
Read a summary of the $1.9 trillion plan, including $126 billion for education. Updated March 18, 2021.
IASB Summary of COVID Relief Package Funding:
Read a summary of the recently passed and signed relief package, which includes $54.3 billion for K-12 education. Updated Jan. 11, 2021.
IASB Summary of Federal Stimulus Package
Read a brief summary of the $3 trillion economic stimulus package, passed by the U.S. Senate on Wednesday, March 25, 2020.
IASB Federal Stimulus Summary
an in-depth review of up-to-date information regarding the CARES Act,
distribution of funds, ESSER Funds, the GEER Fund, the HEROES Act,
CCCERA and the HEALS Act. Updated September 22, 2020.
IASB Message to Members from Sept. 15, 2020:
Read the email to members
announcing that the Legal Service Fund Committee voted to authorize IASB to file an amicus curiae (friend of the court) brief in support of local control in one of the legal cases being brought by school boards in opposition to actions by Governor Reynolds and state agencies in implementing Senate File 2310.
IASB Letter to the Governor from Aug. 8, 2020:
Read the full letter sent to Governor Reynolds from Executive Director Lisa Bartusek regarding Return-to-Learn requirements.
IASB Update for Members from August 7, 2020: Read an update from Executive Director Lisa Bartusek regarding IASB efforts on Return-to-Learn requirements.
IASB Statement on Reopening Guidance from June 26, 2020: Read a message from Executive Director Lisa Bartusek regarding reopening guidance from the Iowa Department of Education.