Coronavirus in Iowa, live updates for April 13: Iowa school districts announce plans for continuous learning

Cedar Rapids Police Officer David Dyckman shows N95 masks that officers have been issued for use on medical calls in Ced
Cedar Rapids Police Officer David Dyckman shows N95 masks that officers have been issued for use on medical calls in Cedar Rapids on Monday, April 6, 2020. (Liz Martin/The Gazette)

4:38 p.m. Iowa school districts announce plans for continuous learning

DES MOINES — Every public school district in the state has submitted a plan for continuous learning, the Iowa Department of Education said in a news release Monday.

The plans allow schools to avoid having to make up time lost to weeks of coronavirus closures. Gov. Kim Reynolds has indicated she will decide by Friday whether to extend school closures past April 30.

Of Iowa’s 327 public districts, 285 will offer “voluntary educational enrichment opportunities” — optional, ungraded work that won’t count for class credit. Only six districts will implement “required educational services” for all grade levels. Those services should match the rigor of normal classes, and student attendance will be taken and work can be graded.

There are 36 school districts that will provide a combination of both required and voluntary learning. Many of those districts are starting required services for their high school students — including Linn-Mar Community, Marion Independent, College Community and Solon Community school districts — while giving younger students voluntary learning opportunities.

Among the state’s accredited private schools, 179 submitted plans — 80 for required, 73 for voluntary and 26 for a combination of both. Non-public schools that decided not to offer continuous learning — such as St. James’ School in Washington — will need to make up missed school days.

2:09 p.m. North Liberty Blues & BBQ canceled for 2020

NORTH LIBERTY — The city of North Liberty decided Monday to cancel the 2020 edition of North Liberty Blues & BBQ, originally scheduled for July 11.

While the festival still is three months away, planning started last fall, and the speed at which the current pandemic forces changes makes planning and executing a big festival even more challenging and potentially irresponsible, the city said in a release Monday.

“We’ve been lucky to have wonderful, supportive partners and sponsors, who understand the need to be protective of this festival and of our community, and who stand behind us, our festival, and our decision. We look forward to seeing you again. We’re planning on July 10, 2021, but we hope to see you before that, too,” the release stated.

4:03 p.m. Hy-Vee seeks photos to recognize hometown heroes/essential workers

WEST DES MOINES — As the coronavirus continues to impact daily lives, Hy-Vee is asking essential workers across its eight-state region to submit photos of themselves doing their jobs so Hy-Vee can recognize the work they are doing every day to serve their communities.


The photos will be featured on Hy-Vee’s social media platforms in a video montage as part of the company’s #HelpfulSmileStrong social media campaign and as an extension of Hy-Vee’s recent heroes ad running on TV.

From doctors, to retail workers, to child-care providers, delivery drivers and more, Hy-Vee is encouraging individuals to submit photos of themselves at work during this time. Individuals may only submit photos of themselves, and submitted photos must not contain any other individuals in them. Essential workers interested in participating are asked to send their photo(s), along with their first and last name, hometown and occupation to Hy-Vee’s Facebook page at via Facebook Messenger. Photos will be accepted until April 20.

10:10 A.M. Iowa City Farmers Market pushed back

IOWA CITY — The Iowa City Farmers Market has been pushed back to at least Saturday, June 6, 2020, due to the COVID-19 pandemic. You can still support our Farmers Market vendors. Contact them directly by using our Vendor List Guide. Read it here.

Also in Iowa City, these facilities have closed and remain closed: City Hall, the Iowa City Public Library, the Iowa City/Johnson County Senior Center, the Landfill and Recycling Center, the Animal Care and Adoption Center, as well as Parks and Recreation’s Robert A. Lee Recreation Center, Mercer Park Aquatic Center/Scanlon Gym, Terry Trueblood Lodge, and Ned Ashton House.

They will be closed from Sunday, March 15, 2020, through Thursday, April 30, 2020. Iowa City continues to monitor COVID-19’s impact, and will review opening facilities as this develops.

10:12 a.m. Parents now able to administer Iowa DOT written driving test at home

ANKENY — “Skip the Trip,” a program the Iowa Department of Transportation, began last year allowing students to take the non-commercial driver’s knowledge test at approved educational sites has now been expanded to allow parents, guardians, and legal custodians to proctor the test for their children from home using an electronic device connected to the internet.

To protect customers and Iowa DOT staff from exposure to COVID-19, services offered in driver’s service centers have been limited at least through the end of April. Allowing parents to administer the test at home will enable students to still take the test without coming into a service center.

To apply to take the test at home, the parent must have a valid Iowa driver’s license and will need to complete and submit the Application to Proctor Knowledge Exam form to the Iowa DOT. Upon approval of the application, the parent and student will receive an email with instructions for taking and administering the test. After the test is completed, the student will receive an email with the test results. Once the student has passed the test, the parent and student will need to visit a DOT service center or county treasurer’s office to get their instruction permit. Currently, appointments are necessary at DOT service centers and are available beginning in May. Appointments can be online. If you wish to visit a county treasurer’s office, you are encouraged to contact your county treasurer to find out how they are providing service at this time.

The Iowa DOT reminds parents that teaching driving skills to children are an important responsibility that must be taken seriously. The skills you instill in your child not only have a direct impact on their safety but the safety of everyone on our roadways, for the rest of your child’s life.

Find out more information about Skip the Trip. To prepare for the driver’s knowledge test, look for the Iowa Driver’s License Manual and practice tests online.

12:05 p.m. Iowa City asks transit users to wear cloth masks while on buses

IOWA CITY — Due to the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention’s recent recommendation that people should wear cloth masks while in public spaces where social distancing may not be possible, the city of Iowa City is asking transit riders to please wear a cloth mask when riding a bus.


Wearing a cloth mask while riding transit will help keep both the drivers and riders safe, and limit the spread of COVID-19. City bus drivers also have access to and wear masks.

The city also reminds residents that travel on public transit should be used for only absolutely essential trips: to work, for grocery shopping, or health care related trips.

12:11 p.m. Cedar Rapids plays host to virtual city council meeting tomorrow evening

CEDAR RAPIDS — The Cedar Rapids City Council meeting for Tuesday at noon will be hosted virtually, the city announced Monday.

The meeting will be streamed live on the City’s Facebook page and indexed videos will be available on the City’s website.

The public is invited to provide comment by sending written comments to before the scheduled meeting or by participating in the Zoom Conference Call. Written comments received before 11 a.m. on April 14 will be provided to the members of the City Council before the meeting. Residents wishing to comment during the meeting must register using the Zoom link here: After registering, you will receive an email with instructions on how to participate in the Zoom Conference Call. The public will only be invited to speak during designated public comment sections of the meeting. City Hall remains closed to the public. No in-person participation is available.

Citizens interested in watching the meeting that will not be providing public comment do not need to register for the Zoom conference. Residents can view the meeting using Facebook Live or on the City’s website. The April 14 meeting agenda will be posted to the website by 4 p.m. on Thursday, April 9. View the meeting agenda here:

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