March 23 – Cowles Letter on Positive COVID-19 Test

Dear Cowles families and staff:

A member of our Des Moines Public Schools community has self-identified as testing positive for COVID-19.

A staff member at Cowles Montessori School shared the news with both school and district leadership today, who have also been in contact with Polk County Public Health. The individual was at Cowles through March 13.

It is NOT the practice of the Iowa Department of Public Health to notify employers or institutions of a positive COVID-19, or Coronavirus, case. The school district is able to share this news because the staff member self-identified, but the school district will NOT be able to report each time a member of the DMPS community tests positive.

Public health agencies state that you do NOT need to be tested unless you had direct contact with someone who has tested positive AND have symptoms (fever, cough, difficulty breathing). Testing is currently very limited in Iowa

.Your primary health care provider can help determine if you need testing or treatment. In addition, you can call 211, the state’s Coronavirus hotline, for more health-related information. If you believe you may have been exposed to the virus or are experiencing symptoms, DO NOT go immediately to a clinic, emergency room, or doctor’s office. Instead, either call 211 or your primary health care provider for guidance.

At this time, Des Moines Public Schools is closed, joining schools, colleges, business and many others across the state and nation in trying to stem the spread of the pandemic. In addition, we cannot stress enough the importance of basic good health practices, such as regularly washing your hands, covering your cough, and staying home any time you feel ill.

Making sure you have access to accurate information – and not relying on a random person’s latest Facebook post – is critical during a time like this. Go to for not only information about DMPS but also links to the latest COVID-19 information from experts at the World Health Organization and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

This is a very unusual time, one none of us have ever experienced, but we pledge to do everything we can in support of our community. We cannot wait until the day when students return to our classrooms, but that day will not come until we are certain it is in the best interest of our health and well-being.

With best wishes,

Dr. Thomas Ahart

Diane Gladson, RN
Health Services Supervisor