Largest Iowa school district could extend distance learning

DES MOINES (AP) — Iowa’s largest public school district has a plan to extend its distance-learning program into next fall if a second wave of the new coronavirus hits the state.

Des Moines Public Schools students are starting their first day of distance learning this week and will continue for the rest of the spring semester. But the district is preparing for a possible second wave of the virus in the summer or early fall, Superintendent Thomas Ahart told television station KCCI.

The district can “tap back into” its distance learning set-up if the pandemic stretches into the next school year, Ahart said.

Seniors began online learning Monday, and the rest of high schoolers will begin the following week. Preschool through eighth-grade students are set to begin April 27. The biggest hurdle the school district faces is connecting nearly 7,000 students to the internet. This district is handing out equipment to students who need laptops and WiFi.