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Local 5 - weareiowa.com | Des Moines Local News & Weather | Des Moines, Iowa

DMPS to request waiver from state to move learning online

If approved, DMPS would delay the start of in-person learning for high schoolers until at least Thanksgiving, and move grades Pre K-8 online starting Nov. 16.

DES MOINES, Iowa — As daily COVID-19 case counts and positivity rates continue to rise across Iowa, the state's largest school district is looking to move to 100% virtual learning once again.

The Des Moines Public Schools' Board of Directors held a special meeting to discuss their options Sunday, just two days before the five DMPS high schools are set to return to in-person learning in their hybrid model. 

In light of the conditions in Polk County, the board decided to submit another waiver request to the Iowa Department of Education to move instruction online.

If the waiver is approved, DMPS would delay the start of in-person learning for high school students, and keep them virtual at least through Thanksgiving, with additional waivers being applied for after that if things still haven't improved.

If denied, high school will start in person Tuesday as planned, and the Board may meet again later this week to determine how best to move forward, but will likely wait until their next scheduled meeting on Tuesday, Nov. 17.

Elementary and middle school students will move to fully online learning starting next Monday, Nov. 16, if the waiver is approved.

The metrics DMPS currently has in place say a move to fully virtual learning is permitted in the event of a rolling 14-day average positivity rate of over 10%, or 100+ positive tests per 100,000 in the span of a week.

As of Sunday, the rolling 14-day positivity rate in Polk County is up to 16%.  In the last week, the county has reported 425.7 cases per 100,000 tests, according to the district's website.