Des Moines back-to-school questions, answered
Des Moines Public Schools' superintendent and staff were questioned Tuesday night about COVID-19 and the new school year, which starts Aug. 25.
A few highlights from the virtual town hall:
Virtual learning: It's an option for all grade levels except for pre-K classes.
- For K-5, all students can go virtual, if they want to. They can opt in or out after school begins.
- Middle school virtual classes have space available.
- High school: There's a waitlist.
COVID: Exposure letters will be sent to parents and guardians of students who shared classrooms with someone who has tested positive.
- There's no threshold of absences to determine when a class or school might close. (That would involve a decision with state health and education officials.)
- Multiple fully vaccinated staffers recently tested positive for COVID-19 and are currently on leave, Superintendent Thomas Ahart said.
Precautions: Masks and vaccines cannot be mandated for students or staff because of state law.
- An antimicrobial coating is being applied to hard surfaces to help prevent illness.
- Ventilation systems are being extended beyond school times, most running 20 hours a day.
- A mask-wearing incentive program is currently being vetted by the school's legal team.
The meeting was recorded and can be watched, here.
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