The Des Moines School Board has approved a plan that will start bringing students back into school buildings next month if a set of conditions about Covid-19 are met, but the board hasn’t voted on those standards yet.
The state’s largest district started the school year without state permission to teach students online. School Board member Rob Barron said reopening should be based on “a fair measure” of public health.
“We’ve got to get to a good place to move forward when students and staff start coming back,” he said.
The phased-in plan would start with preschoolers, then ultimately have high school students return to buildings on November 10. According to Superintendent Thomas Ahart (AH-hart), the plan complies with state guidelines and will avoid forcing students to be in school for extra days to make up for the classwork they’ve already done online.
“Part of this will depend on calculations that the Department of Education does, but we can largely make up all this time without additional expense,” he said.
Teree Caldwell-Johnson was the only school board member to vote against the plan.
“I feel like we’ve just talked ourselves in a circle,” Caldwell-Johnson said. “…I don’t know what we just did, but we’re going backwards.”
Caldwell-Johnson said the school district’s Covid check-list should be guidelines, not requirements.