As another surge in COVID-19 cases is underway – both in Iowa and around the world – the DMPS Health Services department and our school nurses share an “open letter” with the DMPS community to remind everyone on what to do to try and keep yourself and each other healthy and safe.

To the DMPS community:

As our state and nation continue to face yet another surge in COVID-19 – this time due to the Omicron variant – the Health Services Department and school nurses at Des Moines Public Schools want to share a few reminders to try and keep yourself and those around you healthy. The latest increase in COVID cases is impacting school districts everywhere, but schools cannot address this situation alone. We need your help.

Because of the large number of cases in the community, DMPS cannot keep up with exposure notifications in a timely or meaningful manner. Schools will not send exposure notices but will continue to monitor school/community conditions, provide regular information on ways to take precautions and lessen the spread, and continue our mask mandate at this time. DMPS continues to update each school day a dashboard on the number of student and staff COVID-19 cases.

For your benefit and that of our students, teachers and staff, please follow the guidelines below:

  • All persons should wear a well-fitting mask when around others and in public, including in all DMPS school buildings.
  • If an individual shows symptoms of illness, they should stay home and consider getting tested. If you were known to have been exposed to someone with COVID-19 but have not developed symptoms, consider getting tested after 5 days.
  • Monitor for symptoms. People may develop symptoms that range from very mild to severe. Some people develop no symptoms but can still spread the virus to others. COVID-19 symptoms may include:
    • Fever or chills
    • Cough
    • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
    • Fatigue
    • Muscle or body aches
    • Headache
    • New loss of taste or smell
    • Sore throat
    • Congestion or runny nose
    • Nausea or vomiting
    • Diarrhea
  • Schools are not able to enforce quarantine. Persons who are exposed to a positive case in their household or who have not received all recommended COVID-19 vaccine doses have an increased risk of infection. Full CDC guidance for isolation and quarantine is available here and updated often. For further information on quarantine, you may contact the Polk County Health Department at 515-286-3890.
  • If a DMPS student or someone in their household tests positive, please notify your school nurse.
  • DMPS has partnered with Nomi Health to provide testing at two locations in Des Moines. The Polk County Health Department also has a list of other test sites in the community as well as information on at-home test kits.
  • Last but not least: get vaccinated if you have not already done so. Vaccination and booster shots provide protection against severe illness, hospitalization, and even death from COVID-19. Visit for more details.

Questions? Please talk with your health care provider or school nurse. We’re here to help.

Be well,

Des Moines Public Schools Health Services 

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