Urbandale schools open Tuesday with enhanced safety precautions. Here's what you need to know.

Sarah Kay LeBlanc
Des Moines Register

Urbandale schools open Tuesday with a mixture of in-person and online classes. 

About 14% of students have selected the 100% remote learning option this fall. The remaining students will begin the school year in a hybrid model. 

Students that choose the hybrid will be divided into two groups. Group A will attend in-person classes on Tuesdays and Thursdays, while Group B will go to school on Wednesdays and Fridays. They alternate every other Monday.

Rolling Green Elementary, which opened July 23, will adopt the hybrid model after starting the school year fully online. The school has been out of compliance with the state's mandate the schools offer at least 50% of classes in person since Aug. 7, when its state waiver expired. 

Here's what you need to know about Urbandale's back-to-school plans:

Are face masks required?

Yes. All K-12 students and staff, as well as visitors, will be required to wear cloth masks inside buildings. Schools will supply one cloth face mask to every student.

Masks are encouraged for preschool students, but not required.

Masks must be worn outdoors when safe social distancing is not possible, according to the district's website. There will be mask breaks when students are outside and at least 6 feet apart.

What will lunch look like?

There will be no self-serve items. Meals will be served by staff who will wear gloves and masks. Middle schools students will use their ID to purchase meals and eat in classrooms. High school students likely will eat in their Connections rooms.

What about passing periods? 

Middle school passing periods will be 3 minutes, with each grade level passing at a different time. Staff will monitor hallways to ensure appropriate social distancing. 

The high school will have one-way movement during high-traffic periods, such as lunch, arrival and dismissal. There will be tape on the floors and signs on walls to encourage social distancing.

► More:Schools are reopening in the Des Moines metro: Here's what local districts have planned this fall

What is the plan for busing?

Students will be required to wear face masks on buses. Drivers will wear masks and wipe down seats between routes.

Will students use lockers or locker rooms?

Middle school students will be encouraged to rely on backpacks. They will not share lockers for physical education classes and will only be required to change into appropriate shoes, so they will not use locker rooms to dress.

High school students will not have access to lockers to start the year. They will be encouraged to use backpacks. 

Will students stay in the same classroom?

Students will use different classrooms for art, choir, band and physical education. Desks will be spaced 6 feet apart where possible and students will be encouraged to maintain physical distance during group work.

Schools will try to limit the number of people in each classroom, the district said.

Are there extra safety precautions?

Plexiglass barriers will be installed at the front office of the middle school, according to the district's website.

Will there be a difference in how schools handle pickup and drop-off?

Parents of elementary students are asked to stay in or near their vehicles. Students will be dismissed at multiple exits to accommodate social distancing, according to the website.

Middle school students should not arrive prior to 7:30 a.m. Grade levels will exit through different doors.

Doors to the high school will open at 7:45 a.m. and students should arrive after 7:30 a.m. Students arriving early to meet with a teacher will need a pass or they will need to email office staff.

There will be three entrances: On the west side of the building, at the front doors, and on the northeast corner by the lunchroom. Weather permitting, students must wait outside to be picked up or to catch the bus, the website states.

Sarah LeBlanc covers trending news for the Register. Reach her at 515-284-8161 or sleblanc@registermedia.com.

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