FAQs About DMPS and COVID-19

Q: What will happen when school starts for the 2020-21 school year?

A: District administrators will continue to work throughout the summer, monitoring the latest developments in the COVID-19 Pandemic, consulting with medical experts and talking with other urban districts throughout the United States. We are also surveying our families to collect information that will help drive our decisions about how school will resume in the Fall. The State of Iowa has given all Iowa districts three choices; resume classes in person with health measures in place, provide hybrid in-person and virtual classes, or continue all virtual learning. Unlike in the Spring, all learning will be mandatory when the 2020-21 school year begins. It’s always good to bear in mind that we may start the school year one way, and need to adjust as virus activity in the community rises and falls.

Q: DMPS is offering online learning. Where can I find these resources?

A: Access to Pre-K – 12 workbooks, and other valuable education resources are available on the DMPS@Home page. These are provided as a support only, and are not required.

Q: How will children who depend on schools for food receive meals?

A: DMPS food and nutrition staff will offer free grab-and-go meals, both lunch and breakfast for the following day, at a variety of locations from 11:30 AM – 12:30 PM weekdays continuing through the duration of the COVID-19 closure. On Fridays, staff will send home additional food for the weekend.  See a list of locations and hours.

Q: Can anyone have a meal?

A: Our goal is to make sure that no Des Moines child goes hungry in our city, and the United States Department of Agriculture provides the district funding for meals with the understanding that the meals will feed children in need who are ages 1-18. It is up to each family to determine what need looks like during this uncertain time in our world. We appreciate the support of our DMPS community in following these guidelines to help us make sure every hungry child has enough to eat.

Q: Why do the meals distributed at my meal site sometimes look different than the meals a friend is receiving at another site?

A: Meals are now prepared on site, using products in the school kitchens we would have used for school meals.  Each school may have a different breakfast or lunch, however, all the meals prepared meet federal and state guidelines.

Q: What if I don’t need meals, but would like to donate to the effort?

A: The district needs assistance with providing meals for students over the weekend. If you would like to contribute toward that effort, please fill out this online donation form.
Checks may also be sent to:
DMPS Food and Nutrition
c/o Jessica Buchheit
2100 Fleur Dr.
Des Moines, IA 50321

Q: Why isn’t DMPS continuing to offer childcare while the district is closed?

A: The benefit of district closure is social distancing, which has been shown to slow the progression of disease and ultimately save lives. When we continue to congregate in schools, we defeat the purpose of the closure by potentially exposing students and staff to Coronavirus. We realize there is a real hardship for many families who need childcare. We have a team actively working with city government and other entities to try and find ways to support families.

Q: How do I talk to my children about COVID-19?

A: The DMPS Counseling Staff has put together a letter offering guidance about how to talk to children about Coronavirus. Read their advice here.

Q: What is the district doing during the closure?

A: The district has convened a core leadership team to meet regularly to be updated on COVID-19, engage or interact with Polk County Public Health, Iowa Department of Public Health and the Centers for Disease Control for the latest guidance, and plan for a system of supports for students, staff and families. The team is reaching out to community stakeholders for collaboration during this unprecedented time.

Also, our buildings will be undergoing deep cleaning during the closure, above and beyond the traditional cleaning we practice everyday during flu season. This will include limited staff access to buildings once the cleaning is complete.

Q: When can I expect to hear more about what’s going on in the district?

A: Decisions about the 2020-21 school year will be announced in a timely manner after careful consideration of the safety and well-being of our staff, students and families. Visit the district’s website dmschools.org/coronavirus and follow the district on Facebook or Twitter for the latest information.