2021-2022 Return to Learn FAQ

As we continue to provide resources on our website to support students and families, we understand that some of you may have questions. We will update this page as additional information is received.

I have a question not answered here or in the Return to Learn Plan. How can I get an answer?

Please complete this simple form with your question. We will review your questions as quickly as possible, and where possible copy your question and provide our response on the FAQ portion of our Return to Learn website. Return To Learn Question Form

Please Stay Home If Not Feeling Well

Southeast Polk Community School District collaborates with the Polk County Health Department, Iowa Department of Public Health, and local healthcare providers to provide guidelines that define when a student is well enough to attend school. Click here for the Southeast Polk Illness Policy Procedure.

The District’s request to all families, students, and staff is to stay home if you are not feeling well. 

Updated FAQ Following Dec. 9, 2021 School Board Meeting


Q: What is the district’s policy regarding masks? 

A: At the December 9, 2021 School Board Meeting, the board voted that beginning Monday, Jan. 3, 2022, mask use for students at all Southeast Polk buildings is recommended indoors but not required.  This also includes staff and visitors.

Masks are still required to be worn by students and transportation personnel while on school buses as required by Federal law.


Q: Are masks required on school buses? 

A: Masks will be required for all individuals (staff and students Pre-K through 12) on Southeast Polk school buses.


Q: Are masks required during recess? 

A: No, masks will not be required when outdoors on SEP property.


Q: How will lunches be handled?

A: Each elementary school and Spring Creek 6th Grade Center will determine the best way to handle lunch given their facility and number of students. 


Q: Who can I speak to about my child’s special needs?

A:  If your child has an IEP, please contact Charlie Taylor. For all other special needs, reach out to your building principal.


Q: Can I switch my child(ren) to going completely online like last year?

A: We are not able to offer the remote pathway that was available last year.  We do have some alternate options for families to consider.  If you would like to learn more about these, please contact Jo Ellen Latham


Q: Can I switch my child(ren) to homeschooling? 

A: Homeschooling is an option we offer for students, however, currently our assistance program is full. For more information about the support we provide, follow this link: Home School



Q: How will the district handle COVID-19 reporting this fall?

A: The Southeast Polk School District will follow the guidance of the Iowa Department of Public Health, the Polk County Health Department, and the Iowa Department of Education to respond to positive cases of COVID-19 and close contacts for students and staff.  IDPH and PCHD are no longer conducting contact tracing.

The District will collect data on the number of positive COVID-19 cases of students and staff and report this to the public weekly via website dashboard. For grades PK-5, parent notifications will be sent to the entire grade level when a positive case is confirmed.  For grades 6th-12th, positive cases will be reported on the district dashboard.


Hand Washing

Q: Will students and staff have opportunities to wash their hands throughout the day?

A: Students and staff are encouraged to wash hands with soap and water frequently.  There will continue to be increased availability of hand sanitizer in all school facilities.



Q: Are school meals free again this year? 

A:  Yes, regular meals will be provided for students at no charge again during the 2021-2022 school year. 


2021-2022 Illness Guidelines

Q: What should I do if my child is sick with covid symptoms?

A: The general message to families, students, and staff is to stay home if you are not feeling well.  If a parent believes their student may have covid symptoms, they should call the child’s healthcare provider for further guidance.


Q: What happens if a staff member gets sick while at work?

A: The staff member should notify their supervisor and go home.


Q: What if a family has one child come down with covid symptoms, and they have other school-age children? 

A: The children who are feeling well may come to school. 


Q: What happens if one child in a family tests positive for covid-19?

A: Per the direction of the Iowa Department of Public Health, covid-positive students must isolate at home for 10 days, be fever free for 24 hours without fever-reducing medications, and symptoms must be improving before returning to school.  It is strongly recommended that all other household members stay home and quarantine per CDC guidelines.


Q: What do employees do if they have to stay home with one of their own children who has symptoms or has been exposed?  

A: Employees may use their available family illness leave, personal leave, or vacation leave (if applicable), in order to care for their children. If the employee has exhausted all of their available paid leave(s), they can contact the human resources office to request unpaid leave.


Q: Are these employees covered by the (FFCRA) Families First CoronaVirus Response Act? 

A: The requirement that employers provide paid sick or expanded family and medical leave under FFCRA expired on December 31, 2020. If an employee is eligible for FMLA, and is sick, or is caring for a family member who is sick with COVID-19 they may be eligible for up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave. Employees should contact human resources if they have questions about their eligibility for FMLA.


Q: Where can I find COVID-19 and K-12 School information from the Iowa Department of Public Health?

A:  Follow this link: IDPH K-12 School Update for Fall 2021/Winter 2022

Facilities Cleaning

Q: Will the school continue to do extra cleaning? 

A: Regular custodial cleaning practices focused on cleaning for health will be continued for this year at all district buildings. High touch areas will be cleaned and disinfected regularly throughout the day. The district upgraded the filtration systems in buildings last year. There will also be a continued effort to increase filtration and the circulation of outdoor air through the HVAC systems.

Teaching and Learning

Q: My student has a medical condition preventing them from being in a classroom. What options do I have? 

A: We believe that the optimal setting for learning is in classrooms where students have opportunities to engage and interact with teachers and other students.  

For students who are medically fragile and/or have medical conditions that would prevent them from being in classrooms, Southeast Polk will have some options for families to consider. These will include homebound instruction, homeschooling and online learning through Edgenuity.  We will work with families on an individual basis to create a plan that works best for impacted students. If your child has a medical condition and you would like to learn more about these options, please contact your building principal or the district curriculum office.

Visitors and Volunteers

Q:  Will visitors and volunteers be able to come into the school buildings? 

A:  Visitors and volunteers are greatly valued at our schools. At this time, visitors and volunteers will be allowed at all buildings. We will closely monitor community conditions and may adjust this as needed. 


Events and Activities

Q: Will we hold games, plays, concerts and other extracurricular activities?

A: Yes, all extracurricular activities will function under normal operating procedures.  The district will continue to follow the guidance of the IHSAA and the IGHSAU. Check the Activities webpage for updates: Southeast Polk Activities 


Facilities Rental

Q:  Will outside groups be able to rent SEP facilities this year? 

A: Facilities are open to use by outside groups for the 2021-2022 school year. Click here for additional information on facility rentals.