March 15 – DMPS Closure Update
DMPS is committed to bringing you information and resources during the district closure that began on Friday, March 13, and continues with the hope of reopening on March 30. If it appears a longer closure in necessary for the health and wellbeing of our students, staff and families, the district is prepared to remain closed until a later date.
At this time, 20 states plus the District of Columbia are closing schools in response to the Coronavirus outbreak. Nationwide, more than 57,000 K-12 schools – approximately 40% of the nation’s total – have temporarily closed in response to the pandemic, either as a measure to prevent the spread of the virus or because of confirmed cases in their community.
COVID-19 Community Spread in Dallas County
Last night, Gov. Kim Reynolds announced the state has become aware of a case of Coronavirus with no known origin. A person in neighboring Dallas County tested positive for Coronavirus (COVID-19). The person contracted the virus from someone in the community who was already infected. Reynolds is now recommending gatherings of no more than 250 people.
The smallest elementary school in our district has more than 300 students and staff, middle schools average more than 700 people, and our high schools have populations of more than a thousand. Every school day those students walk with each other in the hallways, sit next to each other in class, and each lunch together in the cafeteria. Maintaining a 6-foot social distance between students in this setting is not possible. While young people don’t appear to be as affected by the virus, there are immune compromised students and staff in our district. Our students also have parents and grandparents who are more vulnerable to deadly complications from COVID-19.
However, we are also sensitive to the fact our families work in the community and many rely on schools for regular meals.
These are the significant considerations under review as we weigh the best course of action to protect the wellbeing of our students and staff at DMPS.
The district response team continues to communicate daily to work on solutions and engage partners in the community to help address these challenges.
No decision has been made about extending the closure, but every option is on the table. We will continue to update you daily.
For additional information regarding COVID-19 and what the Des Moines Public Schools is doing to take proactive steps to support our students, staff and families please visit dmschools.org/coronavirus.