A letter from the Iowa Department of Public Health confirms that the state of Iowa has returned $ 95 million in aid to the federal government for a school pandemic. The funds, designed to support surveillance tests at schools in Iowa, are part of President Biden’s U.S. rescue plan passed in March. Kim Reynolds defended the decision on Thursday during a Fox News mayor’s office. “I think (Biden) thinks COVID-19 has just started,” Reynolds told Fox News City Hall. “I just returned $ 95 million because they sent an extra $ 95 million to the state of Iowa to get our kids back in the classroom (s) to do the observation tests, and I said, ̵
A letter from the Iowa Department of Public Health confirms that the state of Iowa has returned $ 95 million in aid to the federal government for a school pandemic.
The funds, designed to support surveillance tests in schools in Iowa, are part of President Biden’s US rescue plan, adopted in March.
Gov. Kim Reynolds defended the decision Thursday at Fox News City Hall.
“I think (Biden) thinks COVID-19 has just started,” Reynolds told Fox News City Hall. “I just returned $ 95 million because they sent an extra $ 95 million to Iowa to bring our kids back to the classroom (s) conducting surveillance tests, and I said, ‘We’ve been in the classroom since August. Here’s your $ 95 million back. “
While most schools reopened in August, neighborhoods, including public schools in Des Moines, delayed the return of students to classrooms until October.
The Iowa Department of Public Health sent a letter to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention last Friday, confirming that the funds had been returned.
The department said Iowa had “sufficient funding and testing for Iowa’s school districts.”
The IDPH letter describes how much federal money schools in Iowa must use to test for coronavirus.
The first primary and secondary emergency school assistance fund or ESSER Fund, adopted in 2020 under the first federal bill to alleviate coronavirus.
According to IDPH, the ESSER fund in Iowa has $ 6.5 million in balances.
Combined with the second and third ESSER funds, adopted in December and March, IDPH reported $ 1.1 billion available for testing COVID-19 through the Iowa Department of Education.
Senate Majority Leader Jack Whitver said school aid came with “tied ties” and that the state was already covering the purpose.
“Because federal debt is out of control and it’s been out of control for many years, if we don’t use it properly, we shouldn’t spend it,” Whitver said.
Senate Minority Leader Zack Walls disagreed, saying Iowa needed all the help it could muster to get through the pandemic.
“Returning federal aid money is like drilling holes in a sinking boat,” Walls said. “It doesn’t make sense when we know that testing, whether at school or at work, is an important part of ensuring that individual cases don’t become outbreaks,” Walsh said.
State Auditor Rob Sand said in a statement that Reynolds’ decision to return aid for a pandemic “made no sense.”
Sand issued a statement that said in part: “This money could create hundreds of well-paid jobs to administer and assist with school testing, sporting events, diplomas and contact tracking. Then residents would spend much of the money on those wages in business and communities that are still struggling to recover from the pandemic. “
He went on to say that refusing pandemic aid puts students, teachers and school staff at risk of contracting COVID-19.
Public health officials said they would accept pandemic aid if it could be used for other purposes, including the distribution of vaccines.
Reynolds has advocated for the return and retention of children in Iowa in classrooms since the beginning of the pandemic.
She signed a measure in law in early 2021 requiring schools to offer full-time education in person.