RESOLUTION SUPPORTING STATE COMPLIANT RETURN TO LEARN PLAN FOR DES MOINES PUBLIC SCHOOLS
WHEREAS it is the mission of the Greater Des Moines Partnership as an economic development and community development organization to drive economic growth with one voice, one mission and as one region; and
WHEREAS the Greater Des Moines Partnership has a longtime commitment to working closely with the regional K-12 school systems to help build the future talent pipeline for the DSM USA region and supports equitable access to education opportunities for all; and
WHEREAS the Greater Des Moines Partnership recognizes that aside from a child’s home, no other setting has more influence on a child’s health and well-being than their school, and that the in-person school environment provides educational instruction, supports the development of social and emotional skills, creates a safe environment for learning, addresses nutritional needs and facilitates physical activity; and
WHEREAS, the Greater Des Moines Partnership fully recognizes the significant impact of the COVID pandemic on public health, the challenges it has created for educational institutions, the importance of providing a safe learning environment for students, teachers and staff and the importance of creating a smart, safe and collaborative Return to Learn plan; and
WHEREAS the Des Moines Public Schools is the largest K-12 school system in the State of Iowa and has a unique set of challenges, including the most families that qualify for free and reduced lunch; and
WHEREAS the Greater Des Moines Partnership recognizes the health risks involved with bringing students and staff back to school during a global pandemic must be balanced with the long-term impacts to the educational attainment and social development of the students; and
WHEREAS the Greater Des Moines Partnership recognizes the lack of in-person educational options disproportionately harms low-income and minority children and those living with disabilities; and
WHEREAS the Greater Des Moines Partnership recognizes that it is important to provide families the option of virtual learning during the COVID-19 pandemic; and
WHEREAS the DSM workforce is impacted by the inability of employees to engage in the workforce when students are not provided an option to be in school; and
WHEREAS the State of Iowa has required all 327 school districts to develop a Return to Learn plan that requires at least 50% in-person instruction; and
WHEREAS all Iowa school districts with the exception of the Des Moines Public Schools have complied with the requirements from the State of Iowa.
THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the Greater Des Moines Partnership calls on Des Moines Public Schools to work with local health experts to establish a safe, smart and collaborative Return to Learn plan that complies with Iowa law and allows for both in-person and virtual options for Des Moines families.