Dear Governor Reynolds,

I am writing you this letter as a parent of three children who are getting ready to go back to school in a couple of weeks. I am also writing this as someone who has had COVID-19 and passed it along to my kids. I know that you have your numbers and statistics that you base many of your decisions on. But you're missing the big picture on the school decision. It's not about numbers. It's about the lives of our kids and teachers.

I have often defended you on our airwaves. This pandemic is unlike anything that we've had to deal with in my lifetime, and likely yours too. No leader, whether on the local or national level, is going to get everything right on this virus all the time. No one has a crystal ball they can peer into and tell everyone what the world will be like in the next one or two months. Closing down businesses the way you did in the early stages of the virus was a hard decision you had to make. Many of those shops and restaurants never re-opened. But you did it for the public good. When to re-open businesses was another controversial topic. But it was done in stages, and appeared to go O.K. until the latest rise in virus cases in the state.

Governor, the way you've handled schools in Iowa is something that I can't stand behind. I understand that you want our kids to be in the best position they can to continue to learn. But is this it? We are supposed to preach caution when attending gatherings and activities, but large groups of children in school are exempt? A survey was done about the approval ratings of governors and their handling of the virus in each state. You had the lowest ratings in the nation. Do you want to know why? It is because you refuse to drop your whole mandate on in-person learning. Yesterday you said that schools that don't meet your criteria will have to make up those school days.

Governor Reynolds, now is not the time to be stubborn and prideful. Now is the time to lead with compassion. Now is the time to admit that local school districts know the needs of their students and teachers better than you do. Drop the demands of your mandate, and schools will no longer defy you. Your ratings might just go up. Stop treating our children like a perishable commodity.

We are looking to you for leadership. Let's end this silly debate and do what's best for the health of our schools. We will salute you for it. I know I will.

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