FAQ

General

Who will decide if my child is going to attend school virtually or in a hybrid setting?

The district recently sent out a form for families with students in grades K-12 to determine which type of enrollment you want for each of your students, which needs to be completed by Sunday, October 4th The link is available here. You will need the primary phone number associated with your Infinite Campus household to log in.

Preschool families who previously selected virtual are locked into the virtual choice. If a preschool family would like to switch from hybrid to virtual, they can use the form above to do so.

What does “virtual learning” mean?

For the purpose of this plan, “virtual learning” means instruction in which the student and instructor are in different locations all of the time. If you select the 100% virtual model, K-5 students will receive virtual instruction in Math and English Language Arts, with integrated science and social studies standards five days a week; middle school students receiving separate instruction in those areas. Elementary students will also receive virtual instruction in PE, Art, or Music at least two days a week as well as instruction in Health. Middle school students will have a rotating schedule of Music, Art, PE, and Business/Technology. All students will have opportunities for social and emotional learning, community building, and access to support from Special Education services, ELL services, and Gifted and Talented services as they are eligible.

How will virtual learning be different between this past spring and this year?

Virtual learning will be required, which means that there will be curriculum that your student will need to complete in order to get credit for their coursework. The work will be self-paced, so students will be able to work when they choose – grade and credit determination will be based on completion of modules and providing evidence (homework, assignments, etc.) that they have mastered the associated skills. DMPS teachers will oversee these classes and provide support for students as needed.

Will virtual learning include live instruction if we select fully virtual?

Yes. While virtual learning will be partially self-paced, there may be scheduled times as well as additional opportunities for students to connect with teachers in one on one and group settings to get additional support around the content areas.

Will virtual learning include live instruction if we select hybrid?

Learning at home days may include live instruction. While at home learning days will be largely self-paced, there may be scheduled live instruction from DMPS teachers at a regularly scheduled time. Students will have required, self-paced activities.

How often will my student meet with a teacher if we select virtual schooling?

Students in grades K-8 will have a daily schedule of participation in virtual classes through Microsoft Teams and Canvas Courses. This will include daily live remote instruction across the core content areas.

High School students will receive a daily schedule for attending their four courses per term (half semester). These courses are scheduled daily in 90 minute blocks, to be made up of 45 minutes of working with others (either groups or the teacher) and 45 minutes of work on their own. All course instruction will be recorded and available to students who are unavailable during the live virtual lesson.

How will attendance be tracked for virtual/learning at home days?

Attendance will be tracked by teachers; evidence of attendance will include students being present for scheduled live instruction (or viewing recorded live instruction, as permitted), participation in assigned Canvas work, submitting work, and additional meetings with the teacher. Attendance will be tracked daily.

Who will my student receive instruction from if we select hybrid or virtual?

Your student will receive virtual or hybrid instruction from the teacher(s) they have been assigned to from their school of enrollment as often as possible. In some situations, depending on the numbers of virtual or hybrid enrollment, virtual classes may be combined across schools in order to ensure that students ratios are met. Students may be assigned to different teachers after the switch to some students attending hybrid.

It is possible your student will be reassigned between teachers depending on virtual or hybrid enrollment.

When is the first day of in person school?

The school board has currently set in-person start dates as follows, pending Polk County meeting Board approved metrics:

Pre-K: October 12
Elementary: October 19th
Middle School: October 26th
High School: November 10th

What will hybrid schooling look like?

All K-12 levels of hybrid schooling will have two cohorts, one that meets Monday/Tuesday and one that meets Thursday/Friday, with alternating Wednesdays.

Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday
Cohort A

In-Person

Cohort A

In-Person

Alternating Cohort A/B

In-Person

Cohort A

Remote

Cohort A

Remote

Cohort B

Remote

Cohort B

Remote

Cohort B

In-Person

Cohort B

In-Person

Full Virtual Full Virtual Full Virtual Full Virtual Full Virtual

During “learning-at-home” days in a hybrid setting, students will have asynchronous (pre-recorded) instruction and may have some live instruction from teachers as well as required, self-paced activities, reading, and/or practice to reinforce and compliment experiences from the Learning-at-School Days. Those activities may be a combination of paper-pencil and online formats.

For High School, Central Campus and Central Academy courses will maintain their current schedule, though individual student’s schedules may need to be adjusted to match cohort selection.

Are there differences between the hybrid and virtual choices offered in the summer and now?

As DMPS transitions to make more in-person learning available to students if they so choose, we want to make sure families are aware there are some differences in the hybrid and virtual models being offered now compared to the choice during summer enrollment. Families who do not complete the learning model selection form discussed above will default to the selection made this summer. Here are some differences in how it will work moving forward:

  • High school is no longer one day per week by grade level but will follow the same A/B group model as elementary and middle schools, meaning in-person classes will meeting 2 or 3 days each week.
  • Wednesday is now a school day, and all hybrid students will attend on alternating weeks depending upon their group.
  • K-8 students who select the virtual model will have instructors from home schools, and will not be enrolled in Virtual Campus as proposed this summer.

How do I know which Wednesday to attend classes in-person?

Students in the hybrid learning model will attend in-person classes on alternating Wednesdays, depending on whether they are assigned to the A or B group. To see which Wednesday you will be attending school in-person, please click here to download the Hybrid Wednesday Schedule (PDF).

Meals

Will meals for students be available?

Meals will be available during while DMPS is in a hybrid model. More information will be available when details have been finalized.

Technology

Will my student keep their district computer/device if we select virtual?

Yes, students will be issued devices by the student’s school. Schools should have already contacted families to ensure technology access. Contact your school if you have concerns.

Will my student keep their district computer/device if we select hybrid? Will they need to bring it back and forth to school?

Yes, students who select hybrid will keep their district computer/device. They may be required to bring their device to and from school with them for their in person learning days.

If I have a kindergarten-aged child and would prefer a laptop rather than a tablet for them, is that an option?

No, we can only support one device type per grade level.

Will my student be using their own device?

No. The district is providing devices to ALL students in order to ensure that the district can provide technical support.

Childcare

Will MetroKids be available?

MetroKids will be providing full-day care and afterschool care at a number of locations while the Hybrid Learning Model is in effect. At this time, we do not have solidified sites as we are looking at numbers and capacity. As soon as decisions regarding locations and capacity are finalized, information will be posted to the Facebook page as well as here.

Please note: our program will be following all DHS and CDC guidelines to ensure a safe environment. This includes limited capacity with small groups of 10-15 and temperature and health checks will be conducted prior to children entering the program.

How do I register for MetroKids?

Existing MetroKids families can register through their SchoolCareWorks Parent Portal and families new to MetroKids can email dmpsmk@dmschools.org to set up an account.

Preschool

What is the plan for virtual preschool?

During fully virtual learning, students will have access to a variety of daily video lessons, as well as live group and individual remote instructions. The teacher will provide daily instruction in literacy, math, and social-emotional learning. Teachers will also weekly provide parents and caregivers with ideas for extension activities, physical activity, and play.

Will my preschool student have the same teacher after October 12th?

While DMPS is working to ensure that as many students as possible stay with the students they have previously been assigned, some students may be assigned to a different teacher due to enrollment and staffing for hybrid and virtual classes.

How long will preschoolers be expected to be in front of a screen in the virtual format?

Students expected screen time for virtual learning will be approximately 45 minutes to one hour per day.

What are community partner sites doing?

Each partner site is creating their own plan with guidance and support from DMPS. Please contact your student’s enrollment site for more information.

What will in person schooling look like for Preschool students?

In person preschool students will attend their preschool location Monday/Tuesday and Thursday/Friday.

High School

Will Central Campus classes be affected?

Students with a lab-based course at Central Campus will still attend in-person class one day per week.

Will high school students still be taking four classes at a time?

Yes. Students will take the remaining three or four courses that they registered for last spring.

If a district is not using a compliant Return-to-Learn plan, will students still earn credit? Will they graduate?

According to the Iowa Department of Education: “The decision to award credit is made by districts based on local policies. A district can and should continue to award credit to students even if the district is not in full compliance with the requirement of Iowa Code. Students may also graduate when they have completed graduation requirements. Graduating seniors may be dismissed 30 hours or five days prior to the end of the school year.”

Sports and Activities

Will DMPS students be able to compete in sports this Fall? What about performing arts or other clubs and organizations?

According to the Iowa High School Athletic Association: “in-person sports and other activities can resume by grade level on the Saturday prior to the school week in which school buildings are open and in-person learning, including learning provided through a hybrid model, is an option available for families who select it.”
Because DMPS high schools will not be compliant with the State’s mandates for in-person learning during a pandemic until Tuesday, November 10, our sports and activities are not being allowed to practice or compete until Saturday, November 7. Unfortunately, this means that the Fall sports season has effectively ended for our boys’ golf, cross country, football, and volleyball teams. The one bright spot is that DMPS girl swim teams will be able to compete at the regional meets on November 7. The high school winter sports season begins practice on November 9 and DMPS will be fully participating.