Coronavirus (COVID-19) Resources

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: Read an update from Executive Director Lisa Bartusek regarding IASB efforts on Return-to-Learn requirements.

IASB Statement on Reopening Guidance from June 26:
Read a message from Executive Director Lisa Bartusek regarding reopening guidance from the Iowa Department of Education.

New! Leadership Through a Crisis: COVID-19 and Beyond
Air Date: July 15, 2020

The IASB Leadership Through a Crisis: COVID-19 and Beyond Digital Conference sessions featured five timely topics: Leadership and Support for Districts in the Months Ahead, Reopening Our Schools: Health & Safety Considerations for Board Members, Continuous Learning—What is it, Where Are We, What’s My Role?, COVID-19 Policies & HR Supports, and What Should We Be Asking? Legal and HR Issues Facing School Boards During COVID-19. The sessions are available for purchase for $95 for full access to all five sessions. You'll also gain access to the wide variety of equity resources provided by presenters. Contact Jeff Rohrick if you have additional questions.

Policy & Legal Resources

Sample Board Resolution: Pandemic Response and Emergency Suspension of Policy—The sample resolution provides boards the method to suspend certain policies which may conflict with guidance being issued by state or federal agencies in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. It ensures the superintendent has authority to act to comply with public health directives. The sample resolution also includes language in red authorizing continued payment of wages to hourly employees to a date certain (such as four weeks). IASB recommends boards consider this action to ensure stability for employees, morale, and employee retention. Alternative language is also provided for placing hourly employees on furloughs, if deemed necessary.
Download the sample board resolution from March 19, 2020. 
Download the sample board resolution from April 3, 2020, which includes updated language to reflect the latest extension of school closures, continuous learning guidance, and virtual learning. 
Download the sample board resolution from April 20, 2020 which includes updated language to reflect the latest extension of school closures, continuous learning guidance, and language regarding a Return to Learn Plan for the DE. 

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
—School 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 also available.


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. 

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.

Proclamation Measures Impacting K-12 Public Education—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.

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. 

School Finance Resources

Fiscal Friday Webinar Series on COVID-19Watch recorded webinars offered on topics ranging from CARES Act Funds, sales tax revenue and bond issues, the state budget, cash management, financial forecasting, and collective bargaining. These webinars are complimentary for members and presented by IASB and statewide experts.  

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.
Video Recording
Webinar Slides
Budget Implications Checklist


Call to Action: Contact Members of Congress—Use our talking points to contact your members of Congress and ask them to support resources and guidance districts need to provide continuity in special education services to students under the IDEA Act.

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.

IASB Federal Stimulus Summary—Read 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.

Payroll Tax Executive Order Summary
—Read a summary on the executive order deferring the collection of payroll taxes, including an explanation of payroll taxes, details on the executive order, insights into whether the order will be implemented and anticipated implementation date. Updated September 2, 2020.

Federal Stimulus Podcast—Our newest episode of Capitol Chats features Chip Slaven and Deborah Rigsby from the National School Boards Association to provide a breakdown of what portion of the $2 trillion federal stimulus package is allocated for K-12 education and what schools can do with that money. Recorded on March 26.

Federal Resources

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Resources for Schools—FAQs for administrators, guidance for closures, cleaning and disinfection recommendations, checklist for teachers and parents, etc. Visit their toolkit for K-12 schools

U.S Department of Education FERPA Resources—Access the latest FAQ on FERPA and coronavirus, and information on FERPA and virtual learning resources from March 20, 2020.  

U.S. Department of Education Information and Form for Funding Flexibilities under the ESEA Act—Read the press release from April 6, 2020 and access the form to receive funding flexibilities to best meet the needs of students and educators during COVID-19. 

National School Boards Association FAQ on the Families First Coronavirus Response Act—Read the NSBA's FAQ resource on meals for students and leave for school employees.
U.S. Department of Labor FAQ on the Families First Coronavirus Response Act—Read the U.S. Department of Labor's questions and answers page on the Families First Coronavirus Response Act. 

National School Boards Association Talking Points on Disabilities Education Act During the Pandemic—Use these talking points from the National School Boards Association to urge your members of Congress to show support for the resources and guidance school districts need to provide a reasonable level of continuity in special education services to students educated under the Disabilities Education Act.

NSBA Guide to Operating Schools in a Pandemic—This guide identifies some of the key legal issues school leaders should be considering as they reopen schools. The document identifies areas where the operational shifts may increase schools’ risk of legal liability and suggests issues for school leaders to consider as they develop policies.

State Resources

Iowa Department of Education Guidance on COVID-19—Read the latest guidance from the DE. Includes school meal services, community college guidance and PK-12 guidance on FAQ, federal programs, IDEA, instructional time requirements, online learning, accountability and assessments, supports for online learning, and reopening guidance.

Iowa Department of Public Health Resources for Schools on Coronavirus—Planning sheet for schools, FAQ, webinar, K-12 guidance, talking points, etc.

School Administrators of Iowa—SAI has created a clearinghouse to help superintendents share COVID-19 communication and planning.

Iowa State Education Association—ISEA is compiling resources including a list of school districts that are continuing to pay wages for hourly employees, FAQ, bargaining during the pandemic, and more. To access these, simply visit their website, hover over and click on the COVID-19 graphic. 

Iowa School Public Relations Association Resources for Schools—ISPRA members have shared resources to support district efforts to communicate important information around COVID-19.

March 31 Deadline Extension Information—The Iowa Auditor of State has asked IASB to share important information regarding the March 31 deadline for annual audits and exams. The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic may cause delays and make it difficult for CPA firms to complete reports for annual audits/examinations by the deadline required by Iowa law. The Auditor of State has discretion to allow time extensions in these circumstances, if your school district requests the extension. This request must be sent to the Auditor.

Iowa Workforce Development Information on Unemployment Benefits—Access IWD resources on FAQ for employers and employees, webinars about unemployment insurance, and guidance from the Department of Labor.

Iowa Public Information Board—April 15, 2020 Press Release regarding public records.

Iowa Public Employees' Retirement System Guidance for Schools—Review IPERS guidance including FAQ for school employers.