DES MOINES, Iowa — After over three hours of deliberation, The Des Moines Public Schools Board of Directors has approved a hybrid learning plan, along with start dates in which that plan will take full effect.
Under this plan, students at elementary, middle and high schools across the district would be split into two cohorts (A and B), with each cohort spending at least two days learning remotely and two days learning in person per week.
Mondays and Tuesdays would be one cohort's in-person days, while Thursdays and Fridays would be the other's. Cohorts would alternate weeks for going in-person on Wednesdays.
While students will be brought back to the buildings under this plan, families will still have the option to choose a 100% virtual learning plan.
The metrics for implementation will be decided next week, with guidance from local and state health officials.
The process of moving toward this plan is expected to take a minimum of three weeks, depending on the level of school. As a result, the following start dates have been approved across the district:
- Preschool: Oct. 12
- Elementary school: Oct. 19
- Middle school: Oct. 26
- High school: Nov. 10 (start of the second term)
Classes at Central Academy will remain fully online.
While the specific metrics have yet to be decided, superintendent Thomas Ahart said he intends to require face coverings for every member of the student body, staff and faculty, with the exception of those who have a disability that would keep them from wearing one.
In tonight's meeting, the Board of Directors also said they would not impose the 'essential worker clause' on any employee if at all possible.