Public Health and Government
Gov. Kim Reynolds recommended Iowa schools close for four weeks after the Iowa Department of Public Health announced on Sunday four additional positive cases of Iowans diagnosed with COVID-19, including one positive case identified in Polk County. Iowa has a total of 22 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and two cases of confirmed community spread. Reynolds signed a Proclamation of Disaster Emergency continuing the proclamation signed on March 9; she will also hold a news conference later today.
Des Moines Mayor Frank Cownie declared a state of emergency on Sunday in response to the community spread of COVID-19 in Iowa. Sunday’s declaration bans gatherings of 250 people or more on public property or right-of-way, and advised private gatherings of a similar size be avoided.
Two Waukee city buildings are closed and many programs are canceled until further notice, the city announced this morning. The Waukee Public Library and the Waukee Public Works building, which houses the city’s parks and recreation department, are closed to the public. All recreational programing is canceled or postponed through April 12; the start of the Girls Softball League is postponed until April 13; and public ball fields are closed. All in-person programs at Waukee Public Library are canceled until further notice. Ongoing updates are available online.
Polk County announced new changes to protocol on Saturday to community and county services, including Community and Congregate Meal sites, Polk County Food Pantries, and services by the assessor, treasurer, sheriff and veterans affairs. Ongoing updates are available online.
School boards association supports Reynolds’ shutdown recommendation
The Iowa Association of School Boards issued a statement late Sunday calling on school boards across the state to take the COVID-19 health emergency seriously, following an announcement by Gov. Kim Reynolds recommending that all schools in the state close for the next four weeks.
“IASB supports the decision not to force an immediate shut-down statewide,” the organization state. “While schools must move quickly, they are allowed to take needed steps locally to ensure family and community preparedness as well.”
The IASB further stated: “We advise school boards to work immediately with local health and community agencies to ensure the health and safety of students and to communicate with parents to accomplish the closures.”
The IASB said it also supports Reynolds’ commitment to ensure policy support for child care and meals for low-income students. Additional commitments will be needed to assist schools in resolving other issues caused by the school closures. IASB pledged its support to assist schools and state policy makers in addressing those issues.
The nonprofit organization represents Iowa’s 327 public school districts, nine area education agencies and 15 community colleges.
Arts and Culture
Organizers announced Sunday that Des Moines’ St. Patrick’s Day Parade has been postponed following Mayor Frank Cownie’s declaration of a state of emergency. A later date or cancellation until 2021 has yet to be determined, organizers said on Facebook.
Urban Dreams has postponed its Beyond Ball and Urban Dreams Cops & Kids 3v3 Basketball Tournament event. A new date has yet to be determined.
The Des Moines Public Library has closed all buildings until further notice following Sunday’s state of emergency declaration by Mayor Frank Cownie. Online tools at www.dmpl.org, including e-books, audiobooks and digital learning tools will remain available. Ongoing updates are available online.
The YMCA of Greater Des Moines has suspended all group fitness classes, personal training sessions, youth and senior programming, facility rentals and closed Learn & Play. A full statement and changes to protocol is available online.