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DES MOINES — The Iowa Department of Education said it will rule next week on appeals filed by districts opposed to fully opening schools to in-person classes when the new school year begins in the coming weeks.

Earlier this month, Gov. Kim Reynolds overrode some local school districts that wanted to hold online classes. She instead is requiring students to spend at least half of their education time in classrooms this upcoming school year, even as the state’s coronavirus cases have surged this summer.


The education department told television station KCCI that it had received appeals to the governor's mandate from districts in Ames and Iowa City. Also next week, the Iowa Department of Public Health is expected to release new guidelines for schools to deal with the outbreak.

News of the state education department's upcoming ruling on the appeals came as state health data showed a continuing rise in both confirmed cases and deaths this week. The state’s online virus tracker showed nine more COVID-19 deaths and more than 450 new cases confirmed today from the day before. The latest figures bring the state’s totals to 845 deaths and more than 43,200 confirmed cases since the outbreak began.