West Des Moines Community Schools | Oct. 1, 2020

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.)

New Information Changes Quarantine Rules

WDMCS works with Polk County Health Department to complete close contact tracing for positive COVID-19 cases. Under current guidelines, we have been using the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) definition of close contacts to determine who may need to quarantine for 14 days.

Close contact is defined by the CDC as within 6 feet for 15 minutes or more,

regardless of personal protective equipment.

Based on new guidance from Iowa health agencies, we want to share new quarantine information that could affect you as a WDMCS employee or student.

Who made the changes?
Governor Reynolds and the Iowa Department of Public Health (IDPH) announced in a press conference Tuesday, Sept. 29, the changes for Iowa schools.

New: IDPH COVID-19 Response: When to Quarantine (Sept. 29, 2020)

What are the changes?

  • A close contact no longer needs to quarantine for 14 days IF the close contact AND the person who tested positive for COVID-19 were properly wearing face masks during the time of exposure. The close contact must also monitor for symptoms and not return if symptoms start.

  • This new change ONLY applies if both people were wearing face masks. Gaiters or face shields are no longer considered equally as safe. This means if one or both of the people were wearing a gaiter or face shield, the 14-day quarantine would still apply.

Does this mean everyone is now required to wear face masks instead of gaiters or face shields?

  • Because of the new guidance, we strongly encourage all students and staff to wear face masks. However, if someone chooses to wear a gaiter or face shield, they need to understand they will need to quarantine for 14 days if they are ever identified as a close contact.

  • We still require a face covering (face masks, gaiter, or face shield) for all students and staff. The only difference is we are strongly encouraging people to change to face masks but will not require that change at this time.

CDC: How to Select, Wear, and Clean Your Mask

What does this mean for people who are in quarantine now?

  • School nurses and Human Resources staff are contacting anyone who is currently quarantined to confirm if face masks were worn at the time of exposure. If they were AND are not experiencing any symptoms, they can immediately return to school.

How will I know if I’m a close contact and need to quarantine?

WDMCS will continue to send messages and PCHD guidance to WDMCS students and staff considered close contacts of a district-related case. This will include whether or not close contacts need to quarantine. COVID-19 information will continue to be updated each weekday on the WDMCS website, but we will no longer email families or staff who are not close contacts to announce positive COVID-19 cases at buildings.

District leadership and the Board of Education will be sent daily summaries of any cases across the district. We will also communicate with building staff and families if there is ever a need for a class or building temporary transition to online learning.

Who You Gonna Call?

While it may seem like 2020 is just as crazy as the 1984 classic movie, Ghostbusters, we don't want you to call Peter, Ray, or Egon if you test positive for COVID-19.

Instead, we've created some simple steps you can use to share information with the district and receive guidance.


The employee communicates the DAY they find out, regardless of if it’s outside of school hours or on a weekend.

Who does the employee contact?

1. Employee contacts immediate supervisor who informs the building administrator.

2. If at school during work hours, employee contacts the school nurse, then goes home.

3. Employee contacts Human Resources (Carol Seid, associate superintendent of HR.)

W: 515-633-5037 C: 515-321-3214

What if the employee can’t get ahold of anyone?

Call the new WDMCS COVID-19 Response Line: 515-633-5990

Include your name, building, role, and phone number.


The parent communicates the DAY they find out, regardless of if it’s outside of school hours or on a weekend.

Who does the parent contact if during school hours?

  1. Parent calls the school and asks to speak with the school nurse.
  2. The parent should not communicate the positive COVID-19 results with other staff.
  3. The student should be kept home and wait for a phone call for contact tracing.

Who does the parent call at night or on a weekend?

Call the new WDMCS COVID-19 Response Line: 515-633-5990

Include your name, your student's name, school, and phone number.

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Need A Refresher? View Previous Newsletters

  • Friday, Sept. 25: Hall of Honor postponed, COVID-19 Dashboard FAQs, Polk County percentages clarification for temporarily transitioning online.
  • Friday, Sept. 18: 2020 Homecoming, Valley Mask BANDITs, tech help for multilingual learners.
  • Wednesday, Sept. 9: No school Sept. 14, bus safety update, homecoming, COVID-19 dashboard.
  • Thursday, Sept. 3: Livestreaming football, deadline for online transition, COVID-19 dashboard promotion.
  • Friday, Aug. 28: Photos, stories from first week of school, new COVID-19 exposure flowchart, student placements online through Sept. 4.
  • Friday, Aug. 21: WDMCS visions for 2020-21 video, teacher assignment update, bus info., new health guidelines, Nutrition updates, Canvas help, and helping kids adjust to face coverings.
  • Friday, Aug. 14: WDMCS Hires new executive director of equity, inclusion, and diversity, transitioning between online and at-school, COVID-19 exposure guidance for students, staff.
  • Friday, Aug. 7: video that answers Return-to-Learn questions, percentages of families choosing online versus on-site, Board of Education vote on delay to start date.

School/Community Relations

Laine Mendenhall-Buck


Alexandra Wade



Aaron Young