Mayor, Council Laud DMPS' Decision to Close Schools

DES MOINES, IOWA – Wednesday, April 8, 2020 – Mayor Frank Cownie and the Des Moines City Council announced today their support for the closing of Des Moines schools for the remainder of the 2019-2020 school year. Des Moines Public Schools (DMPS) Superintendent Dr. Tom Ahart announced today that Iowa’s largest school district would not resume in-person classes and that distance learning would be implemented as soon as next week for high school seniors.

The Mayor and Council thank Dr. Ahart and the Des Moines School board for their decision and recognize the insurmountable challenges in keeping students and staff safe in a school setting with COVID-19 present in our community.  The benefits of keeping schools closed and focusing on implementing a districtwide online solution is prudent.  Ultimately, this decision by DMPS will save lives in our community and is absolutely supported by the City.

Superintendent Ahart has used wise counsel in reviewing long-term institutional metrics and most recent scientific data in making the bold decision to protect his students, teachers and staff by learning while staying home and staying healthy,” Cownie said.

Cownie also expressed strong praise for Des Moines residents who are staying home and staying healthy” consistent with his prior City directives and national CDC guidelines. 

Im extremely grateful and appreciative of all those residents of the City who are self-sacrificing by staying home and staying healthy. This is a difficult time, but we can all accomplish something necessary and significant for our community by flattening the curve,” Cownie said. “It is our responsibility to assist our first responders, health care workers, and all the front-line workers, like grocery, pharmacy, food preparations, drivers, and others that are doing the lifesaving work to meet our most basic needs.”

Cownie reminded everyone to wash their hands and to only go outside for necessities such as groceries, health care and exercise and to practice appropriate social distancing in each instance.

As the coronavirus pandemic continues to rapidly change, City staff work to ensure essential municipal services are maintained. Many services continue to be available via phone, email and the City’s website. A full list of the latest municipal service impacts for Des Moines residents is available at

To monitor the most current updates related to COVID-19, visit

Al Setka
Communications Manager, City Manager’s Office
(515) 283-4057

About the City of Des Moines
The City of Des Moines: Iowa’s capital city and local government servicing more than 217,000 residents, 51+ neighborhoods, over 4,000 acres of parkland and 81 miles of trails. The City of Des Moines stands to be a financially strong city with exceptional city services, fostering an involved community in a customer friendly atmosphere. Visit DSM.cityFacebook and Twitter for more information.