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DMPS holds town hall to answer parent questions about COVID heading into fall

Superintendent Ahart said social distancing will not be enforced this year because physical distancing is largely not feasible.

DES MOINES, Iowa — Des Moines Public Schools held a virtual town hall Tuesday night to answer parents' questions regarding COVID-19 precautions ahead of the new school year.

"Speaking for myself, this has been the most challenging time in my 30-year career," said Superintendent Thomas Ahart.

All DMPS buildings are improving air circulation, providing more hand sanitizing stations, cleaning high-touch areas more frequently, and replacing drinking fountains with bottle-filling stations.

Ahart said social distancing will not be enforced this year because physical distancing is largely not feasible.

RELATED: Des Moines schools facing bus driver shortage heading into fall

RELATED: DMPS offering virtual learning option for elementary students

For students who are uncomfortable returning to in-person learning, the executive director of talent support, said there are virtual learning options available for students in kindergarten through high school, but there is a waiting list for high school students.

Iowa law prohibits schools from mandating students and faculty wear masks, so while DMPS can't require them, they will encourage students and staff to wear them. For students who take the school bus, masks are required under federal law.

The first day of school for DMPS students is August 25.

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