116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
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This is Stephen Schmidt from the Gazette digital news desk and I’m here with your update for Thursday April 8.
Thursday will bring another day with a chance for rain all day, although that won’t mean it will rain all day. According to the National Weather Service there will be a 30 percent chance of rain after 10 a.m. in the Cedar Rapids area with a high near 55 degrees. Then there will be a 50 percent chance of showers Thursday evening. The cloud cover will range from cloudy to mostly cloudy all day.
More than 600 students in the Iowa City Community School District were in self quarantine Wednesday — including about a third of the students at Northwest Junior High School — because of exposure to the novel coronavirus.
Of those students, 127 have tested positive for COVID-19. Five staff members are positive for the disease, and 16 are in quarantine. In all, 11 classrooms were closed because of the absences. When a classroom is closed, however, students continue learning virtually for two weeks until they can return to in-person learning.
Iowa City schools are following quarantine guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Students in close contact with a positive COVID-19 case, even if both people were properly wearing a mask at the time of contact, will be quarantined.
Gov. Kim Reynolds said Wednesday she wants legislation to prohibit vaccine passports in Iowa, citing her concern about potential action from the federal government to create a system that businesses and other entities could use to decide who can, for instance, safely travel or attend concerts.
Just a day earlier, the White House said there will be no federal vaccine passport system.
During a news conference Wednesday at Iowa PBS studios, the Republican governor expressed her staunch opposition to such vaccine passports. Although she was vague about what kind of prohibition she seeks, vaccine passports, generally speaking, are documents provided electronically or otherwise that prove an individual has received the COVID-19 vaccine.
The idea has been gaining traction among businesses and schools as a way of assuring customers and allowing them to reopen more broadly. However, this week the World Health Organization, citing equity concerns, said it was against mandatory proof of the vaccine for international travel. So far, the Republican governors of Idaho, Texas and Florida have signed similar executive orders forbidding their state governments from requiring or issuing COVID-19 vaccine passports.
The University of Iowa next week will host a public forum for the first of four finalists to become the institution’s 22nd president.
Each finalist is scheduled to make a two-day campus visit to meet with constituent groups and participate in an open forum. The first finalist will come Monday and Tuesday, with his or her public forum scheduled for 3:30 p.m. this coming Monday. The other three finalists are scheduled to come on their visits before the end of the month.
Given the pandemic and social distancing requirements, in-person attendance at the forums will be limited. But each forum will be livestreamed, and members of the public can submit questions via the UI presidential search website.
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