DES MOINES, Iowa — Tuesday night, the Des Moines School Board voted to approve a new virtual learning option for elementary students through a company called Edgenuity.
This new option now means Des Moines Public Schools will have online school for all grades, since it already offered virtual learning for students in grades six through 12.
"We weren't planning on that as we were looking ahead to this school year, but in light of recent developments around COVID-19, the increases that we're seeing … this just looks like an online option for younger students," Phil Roeder, director of communications for DMPS, said.
Roeder said what the school board approved Tuesday night is different from the virtual learning offered to students last year. For one thing, DMPS teachers will not be instructing students.
"It will be their [Edgenuity] teachers that will be grading student work providing feedback, things like that," he said.
Students will be doing more alone work in this mode of learning.
"Students won't be logging into a class with other students, they will be doing the work at their own pace," Roeder said.
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This online learning option costs the district $465,000 for one semester.
DMPS will be using money from their federal Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Fund.
"We're looking at this being a semester-to-semester decision," Roeder said. "Our anticipation is this will be available in the spring, as well, in the event that the pandemic continues to be around through the winter."
He mentioned DMPS has enough federal relief funds to pay for the program if it is needed in the spring, but does not know if this it will be around next year depending on COVID-19 rates.
Students enrolled in the program will be taking four core classes and two electives.
More information about parents signing up for this option can be found here.
WATCH: School board approves online learning option for some Des Moines elementary students