ANKENY, Iowa – The surge in cases of the Delta variant is causing concerns among parents ahead of the upcoming school year. Monday night, the Ankeny Community School District tried to calm some fears with a Back to School forum.
“Based on all the information that we’ve received, the district plans to operate under its normal standard processes and procedures,” Ankeny Superintendent Dr. Erick Pruitt said.
Dozens of parents turned out for the district-wide forum and they brought their questions and concerns with them.
“Probably similar to other parents, I’m kind of interested where the school is given the governor’s mandates and things and the rise of the Delta variant among kids and kind of how the school is going to help keep those that can’t get a vaccine and how they’re going to stay safe,” parent Laura Parsons said.
Another parent Tony Antelman said, “If they go to the approach of not heading toward what we consider a normal school day, that doesn’t reflect the community at large.”
Superintendent Pruitt updated families on what the upcoming school year will look like.
“We will continue to follow all state and federal laws including in-person learning for students, required mask usage on buses, and optional mask usage for all students, staff, and visitors when in our school buildings,” Pruitt said.
School officials say they will also follow guidance from the Iowa Department of Public Health. For example, a student who tests positive would have to stay at home for ten days.
Parents will be notified if their student was exposed, but the state’s department of public health is not currently issuing any isolation or quarantine orders for positive or exposed individuals. That still leaves some questions.
“I guess just wondering how they will handle things if things get worse and they start to see students that do get sick that do end up missing school, how they’re going to address that and handle that,” Parsons said.
School officials say parents can reach out to their student’s principal should they get sick and miss school for an extended period. The district is offering a remote learning option grades K-12, if a student has a documented health condition putting themselves or a household member at risk.