WDMCS Family/Staff Newsletter: Nov. 12, 2020

Waiver Approved to Transition Online Starting Nov. 16

The Iowa Department of Education (IDOE) approved the waiver to transition ALL PK-12 students to an online learning environment starting Monday, Nov. 16. Western Hills Elementary and Valley High School are already online.

Students will remain online through Wednesday, Dec. 2. Students who learn in-person will return to school Thursday, Dec. 3.

Online Learning Information

Online Learning FAQs

Why do we need to move online?
WDMCS considers several factors to make our decision, including how COVID-19 is impacting both our community and district. Here’s what we know:

  1. The Polk County COVID-19 positivity percentage is above 10% (currently above 19%).
  2. Student absences are nearing or above 10%. Valley absences are above 10%, and several other schools are seeing a rise in student absences due to illness.
  3. Staff absences. We continue to have an increase in the percentage of staff absences due to illness.

Download/view full COVID-19 Board Presentation >

What are the attendance requirements during online instruction?

Attendance requirements remain the same whether online or in person. If a student is absent, arriving late to online instruction, or leaving online instruction early, the parent/guardian MUST notify the main office so the student's attendance can be marked correctly.

You must log in to your teacher's attendance Google Meet, Google Chat, or other method your teacher requires to show you are present in class. Follow the directions from each teacher. Ask your teacher if you are unsure.

Do I need to take all of my things home with me?

Yes. We encourage students to always take their belongings home each night. This eliminates the need to return to the building.

How do I help support my student in Canvas?

Need help understanding Canvas and how best to support your student as they work through their curriculum? We've created a class to provide insight for managing your Parent Canvas account as well as answer any questions you have about the system.

  • November 18, 10 a.m. and 2 p.m.

You need to have your parent Canvas account set up ahead of time to participate. If you need support in setting this up, please contact Carrie Jacobs at 515-633-5159 or jacobsc@wdmcs.org. You must sign up ahead of time to attend, as we will be emailing links to a Google Meeting room. The session will be recorded and shared if the times do not work for you.

What if I have been told to quarantine past Dec. 2?
Students and staff who have tested positive for COVID-19 or been confirmed as close contacts must follow the guidelines already communicated to them.

Will teachers teach from home or at school?
On-site teachers can choose to teach from school or provide online instruction at home. Teachers should communicate with students and families to share more information about classwork and assignments.

What about facility rentals?
Facilities will be closed to rentals (both buildings and outdoor spaces).

Second Semester Choice Update

As of Thursday, Nov. 12, we've received 5,818 responses from families.

With approximately 9,000 students in WDMCS, we still need to collect data for over 3,300 students.

Big picture

Reminder: Deadline Nov. 13 for Second Semester Choice

Family Choice for Second Semester

  • Families must choose for their student to learn at school or online for the rest of the 2020-21 school year.
  • Families were sent a survey to complete for EACH student.
  • Families must decide by Friday, Nov. 13.


  • Access the survey.
  • You will need to enter a choice for EACH student.
  • You need to enter the student’s ID (it is on secondary student’s ID badges).
  • Student IDs can also be found by logging into Infinite Campus and clicking the “Today” button in the left column.
  • Once you enter the ID, be sure your student’s name shows up to confirm you typed in the ID number correctly.
  • Select the “On-site/In-Person” or “Online” button for second semester. You cannot change your option later unless extenuating circumstances arise.
  • Click “Next.” Review your choice.
  • Click “Next” again to submit.

Read more about second semester plans >

Submit Second Semester Choice: In Person or Online

Submit an answer for each student. You must know your student's ID to complete.

View WDMCS COVID-19 Dashboard

The WDMCS online COVID-19 dashboard is updated by noon each weekday with the PREVIOUS day’s data. (Tuesday updates will include Saturday, Sunday, and Monday data.)

School/Community Relations

Laine Mendenhall-Buck


Alexandra Wade



Aaron Young