March 12 – DMPS Closure Announcement

Dear DMPS Families,

With growing concerns over the COVID-19, or novel Coronavirus, pandemic, I’ve decided Des Moines Public Schools will cancel all programs, activities and classes for a period of at least 17 days, effective at 6:00 PM on Friday, March 13, with the goal of resuming school on Monday, March 30.

This is an extraordinary step for our school district, but this is an extraordinary time for our community, our country and the world. By taking this step, our goal is to implement preventive measures – from social distancing to additional cleaning at our schools – as well as give us more time to assess the spread of Coronavirus in Iowa and the impact it may have on our school district.

My hope and goal is to resume classes on March 30, but this is a very dynamic situation and we will adjust accordingly if it is in the best interest of our students, staff and families If we hope to prevent the spread of the Coronavirus, then we need to act sooner, not later. This is a difficult decision – and with 33,000 students and 5,000 employees – it is one that has a ripple effect across the city, but I have no doubt that it is the right decision for the health and well-being of our school district and community.

While classes were not scheduled during much of this period, because of Spring Break, there were numerous programs and activities taking place during this time. The following outlines the changes that result from closure, additional preventive steps DMPS is taking, and food service that will be offered for students during the canceled school days.

We understand that this will create an inconvenience, and in cases, a hardship for many in our community and we do not take that lightly. We are doing what we can to both respond proactively and effectively to the pandemic while connecting our families with necessary services.

Dr. Thomas Ahart