Who will decide if my child is going to attend school virtually?

At this time, the district is planning for all students to be fully virtual for the beginning of the school year. If the district is able to resume in person classes, student’s registration as either hybrid or virtual will be based on the decision made during on-line registration.

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. Methods could include on-line instruction, printed instructional materials, phone calls, emails, text reminders, video conferencing and/or other means of communication. If enrolled in virtual school, your student will engage in all of their learning in this manner, with coursework overseen and provided by certified DMPS staff.

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

Virtual learning this fall 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?

Yes. While virtual learning will be largely self-paced, there will 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.

Who will my student receive instruction from?

Your student will receive virtual instruction from the teacher(s) they have been assigned to from their school of enrollment.

When is the first day of school?

On Monday, August 17th, the DMPS School Board voted to postpone the first day of class to September 8th. The Board also approved the application of a waiver to begin the school year fully virtual, in the interest of keeping students and staff safe.

How often will my student meet with a teacher?

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 in Literacy and Math for all K-8 students and daily live remote instruction in Science and Social Studies for 6th-8th grade students. Elementary students will receive science and social studies throughout the week.

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.

A document with a sample elementary, middle, and high school schedules will be available soon; this document will also include more specifics about daily expectations.

If we registered for Hybrid, will my student(s) only have access to their teacher on the days their cohort would have been in person?

No. Please see above.

How will attendance be tracked?

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.


Will my student receive a district computer/device?

Yes, students will be issued devices by the student’s school. Schools will be contacting families regarding computer pick up.

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.


Will meals for students be available?

Meals will be available for pick up at all K-12 District Buildings from 11 am – 1 pm, Monday-Friday. Through the end of the calendar year, meals will be free for all students under 18. Click here for more details.

What if I can’t pick up meals from 11am-1pm?

Harding, Hoyt, McCombs, Merrill, Meredith, and Weeks will be open Monday-Friday from 4pm-6pm for families unavailable to pick up in the afternoon.

Do I need to go to the school my student is registered at to get meals?

Any DMPS student or family can go to any DMPS school to pick up meals; you do not need to go to the school you/your student is registered to.

What types of meals will be available?

There will be a single menu district-wide. The Food & Nutrition Department is focusing on student favorites and meals that are easy to reheat. Families will receive a copy of reheating instructions; no raw meat products will be distributed.

What if my student has special dietary needs?

Meals that meet the needs of students with special dietary needs can be ordered ahead of time through the Food & Nutrition Department.

How much food will come in a meal?

Each meal distributed will contain the components of a lunch and breakfast.

How much will meals cost?

Students whose home school is a CEP school will continue to receive meals at no cost. To see if your home school is a CEP school, please visit this link.

Students whose home school is not a CEP school will be charged meals based on their meal status of free, reduced and paid. Food & Nutrition staff will not have change funds outside for families that need to pay for meals. If needed, please put money in your students account online, using this link.

Will my student need to come with me to pick up meals?

No, the student does not need to be present to pick up meals, however, please have your student’s six digit DMPS ID number memorized/with you so that you can quickly move through the meal pick up line.

What if my student has special dietary needs?

Meals that meet the needs of students with special dietary needs can be ordered ahead of time through the Food & Nutrition Department. You can email

How much food will come in a meal?

Each meal distributed will contain the components of a lunch and breakfast. More information is available on the Food and Nutrition page.


Will MetroKids be available?

Registration is now open for our full-day MetroKids programming while DMPS is 100% virtual for all students. Metro Kids will be offering programming Monday-Friday from 7am-5pm at nine elementary sites for students in grades kindergarten through fifth and one site for students in grades preschool through fifth.

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 to set up an account.


What is the plan for 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.

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

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 be the first day of school for preschool?

The first day of preschool classes will be September 8th.

High School

How will going full virtual effect Central Campus classes that have a lab component?

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?


Sports and Activities

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

Student activities, from arts to athletics and more, are an important part of the educational experience for thousands of students at Des Moines Public Schools. As the Return to Learn plan for the 2020-21 school year continues to be developed, student activities are an important factor being considered.

At this point in time, the following is the status for high school activities:

  • While DMPS hopes that Fall sports can play, we are reviewing guidance and information from the high school boys athletic association and girls athletic union in addition to public health officials before making a final decision.
  • DMPS will offer marching band as a voluntary activity at all 5 comprehensive high schools. This will be an optional activity for current band students and will not effect their course grade. Students should click this link for more information and to indicate their interest by Wednesday, July 29. Students will receive more information directly from their band director.
  • DMPS will offer music and theatre activities outside of the school day when classes resume. These activities will be voluntary and have no effect on the students course grade. Teachers will communicate the options and participation parameters with them once school begins.
  • DMPS will NOT offer show choir during the school day or as an after school activity at any of our buildings during the 20-21 school year. It has been determined that we would be unable to maintain safety measures to meet the expectations of this activity.
  • DMPS plans to continue other after school programs and clubs. Whether those will be held in-person or online will be determined and announced at a later date.
  • As with sports, music and theatre activities as well as after school programs and clubs may be suspended or canceled due to COVID-19 cases in the programs.

Please be aware that all student activities are subject to change as may be required in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.