OTTUMWA — Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds continues to announce plans to gradually reopen the state. On Wednesday, she announced that school-sponsored activities will be allowed to resume next month.

“Effective June 1, Iowa’s schools will be permitted to resume school-sponsored activities and learning,” she said. The announcement included high school baseball and softball. “I know that many parents and youth athletes are eager to resume summer sports,” Reynolds added.

It was unclear Wednesday afternoon what effect the announcement would have on the Ottumwa school district as the administration reviewed the details.

"We know the governor shared some important information today around summer sports, summer learning activities and facilities," said Superintendent Nicole Kooiker. "The district is currently working closely with other local districts on the interpretation of the information and will be receiving further guidance from the Department of Education [Thursday]. As soon as we are able to confirm plans for the summer around these areas, we will be sharing out this information."

The district, however, is continuing with plans already in place. PTYC, the district’s child care program, re-opened Wednesday with 22 children attending; capacity had been set at 50.

“We implemented mitigation procedures as recommended by the Iowa Department of Human Services and Wapello County Public Health,” the district said in a statement. “We expect enrollment to increase as we move into June and the state opens up more businesses.”

A modified graduation ceremony is also still planned for Saturday and Sunday. The drive-up service will allow seniors to pull up to the high school in front of the steps in cap and gown, receive their diploma cover and get a photo taken; official diplomas will be mailed to the graduates.

In addition, the Ottumwa High School credit recovery program is moving forward with the plans currently in place for an online program. Vern Reed, the district’s at-risk coordinator, said ASPIRE teammates will begin contacting eligible students Tuesday.

“It’s up to Iowans to decide when they’re ready to resume normal activities,” Reynolds said Wednesday while highlighting personal responsibility in preventing the spread of COVID-19. “I believe that Iowans are willing to continue to do their part as well so that businesses and entertainment and activities can resume again, even if the rules of engagement are different now.”

Features Editor Tracy Goldizen can be reached via email at tgoldizen@ottumwacourier.com or followed on Twitter @CourierTracy.

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Tracy Goldizen is the Courier's features and magazine editor, leading production of the award-winning "Ottumwa Life" and the Courier's other magazine offerings. She began work with the Courier on the copy desk.

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