A steady decline in the number of reported COVID-19 cases among students and staff at Des Moines Public Schools corresponds with the return last month of a district-wide requirement to wear face coverings.
COVID-19 at DMPS had been increasing since classes resumed in late August, with the average number of positives cases reported hitting a peak of 41 per day in mid-September, when Iowa’s anti-mask law was set aside in court. Since then, and the reinstatement of a face mask requirement at DMPS, the number of COVID-19 cases have steadily declined.
Last week a total of only 69 cases, fewer than 14 per day, were reported.
|TOTAL CASES PER WEEK||AVERAGE CASES PER DAY|
|WEEK 1 (August 9-13)
New teachers report: August 12
|WEEK 2 (August 16-20)||15||3.0|
|WEEK 3 (August 23-27)
Classes begin: August 25
|WEEK 4 (August 30-Sept 3)||104||20.8|
|WEEK 5 (September 7-10)||134||33.5|
|WEEK 6 (September 13-17)
Mask mandate: September 15
|WEEK 7 (September 20-24)||178||35.6|
|WEEK 8 (September 27 – Oct 1)||137||27.4|
|WEEK 9 (October 4-8)||126||25.2|
|WEEK 10 (October 11-15)||103||20.6|
|WEEK 11 (October 18-22)||69||13.8|
While DMPS had a mask mandate in place most of last school year for in-person classes and activities, the Iowa legislature and Governor banned school districts from requiring the safeguard against COVID-19 in late May.
DMPS began this school year encouraging people to wear masks until mid-September, when a U.S. District Court judge set Iowa’s law aside for the potential harm exposure to COVID-19 could cause to some students. On September 15, DMPS reinstated a mask requirement for all students, staff and visitors to our buildings. That week 205 positive COVID cases were reported by students and staff, the highest week yet for the 2021-22 school year. Since that time there has been a steady decline in positive cases. As shown in the table above, last week just 69 cases – fewer than 14 per day – were reported, the lowest for any full school week this year.
“Face coverings are one of the simplest yet most effective measures that can be taken to slow the spread of a virus, and we are seeing that positive impact here at DMPS,” noted Melissa Abbott, Health Services Supervisor at the school district. “The good news is we are getting close to a day when the COVID-19 vaccine will be available to elementary students. Until then, masks will continue to slow the spread of COVID, especially among unvaccinated children, and keep more people healthy and safe.”
DMPS posts reported positive COVID-19 cases among students and staff each school day to an online dashboard. Click here to view our COVID-19 dashboard.
In addition, DMPS continues to partner with Nomi Health to make free COVID-19 testing more accessible for students and staff as well as members of the community. Click here for more information and to schedule and appointment.