Central Iowa School Districts Unify on COVID-19 Crisis


In light of recent university and public school closures, central Iowa school district leaders met Friday, March 13, to collaborate and develop a consistent message for our broader communities. Representatives from the Governor’s Office and other educational agencies were also present. At this time, we believe it is in the best interest of our families and staff to resume school as planned after spring break.

Student and staff safety remains our top priority. We all look to the Iowa Department of Public Health (IDPH) for their expertise and direction. IDPH currently believes the risk to our student and staff population is low. We also acknowledge many of our families rely on district-provided childcare and nutritional resources.

We will continue to partner with IDPH and follow their standard protocol for reportable illnesses. This may result in a need to close a specific building, district, or region of schools. IDPH will be the primary source for how we make our decisions regarding COVID-19.

In addition to IDPH, we are in continuous communication with the Polk County Health Department (PCHD) and the Iowa Department of Education (IDE). Central Iowa school districts will continue to follow the guidance of these agencies and work together to keep students, families, and staff safe and informed.


Where you get your information about this virus is important. Look for information from reliable and trusted experts. Social media posts often report partial or inaccurate information.

What You Can Do To Help

Families and community members can help by following these simple, easy steps that help prevent the spread of ALL contagious viruses, including COVID-19. Practice the same routine hygiene used to help prevent the cold and flu.

  • Frequently wash your hands for 20 seconds or more with soapy water. If unavailable, use hand sanitizer.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth.
  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.

In closing, I would reiterate that we will follow the recommendations of the Iowa Department of Public Health and Governor’s Office regarding COVID-19 responses. At this point we are planning to resume school on March 23, 2020. We are also preparing contingency plans in the event we are forced to close schools.  We would encourage parents to do likewise. Please note that we will continue to communicate as additional information becomes available.


Art Sathoff

Superintendent, Indianola Community School District


Footnote: The following school districts collaborated on this topic.

  • ADM Community School District
  • Ames Community School District
  • Ankeny Community School District
  • Ballard Community School District
  • Bondurant-Farrar Community School District
  • Carlisle Community School District
  • Dallas Center-Grimes Community School District
  • Heartland Area Education Agency (AEA)
  • Indianola Community School District
  • Interstate 35 Community School District
  • Johnston Community School District
  • North Polk Community School District
  • Norwalk Community School District
  • Pleasantville Community School District
  • Prairie City Monroe Community School District
  • Saydel Community School District
  • Southeast Polk Community School District
  • Urbandale Community School District
  • Van Meter Community School District
  • Waukee Community School District
  • West Des Moines Community Schools
  • Winterset Community School District
  • Woodward-Granger Community School District