Adding up the COVID-19 numbers in S.D. schools

KELOLAND.com Original

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — South Dakota had 135,984 kindergarten through 12th grade students enrolled in the fall of 2020 and 11,827 of them got the coronavirus, according to South Dakota Department of Health data.

That equals about 8.7% of the enrolled student population.

The public can still access the school data on the DOH website.

“In the coming weeks, we will also be displaying the data collected in different manners, to include a county by county case count map,” DOH communications director Daniel Bucheli said in an email to KELOLAND News when asked about the school data. That information will also be available on the DOH website.

From the school district in Herried with 119 K-12 students to the Sioux Falls School District with 23,952 K-12 students, districts reported weekly COVID-19 student and staff case numbers and recoveries to the DOH.

This is the chart posted by the South Dakota Department of Health for K-12 COVID-19 numbers.

“Our epidemiologists and data team members pour over data and collected numbers weekly to ensure school officials, students and parents, always have the latest weekly numbers to best make decisions for themselves,” Bucheli said.

Many school districts established mask mandates for students and staff and practiced social distancing throughout the year. The state did not have a mask mandate for school districts.

A total of 3,930 staff got COVID-19, according to the DOH.

Reporting started on Aug. 9. The state had 1,125 active COVID-19 cases on Aug. 9.

As cases increased in the state, they also increased in schools.

The peak was in the week of Nov. 8-14 when 1,070 confirmed cases were reported in K-12 students and staff.

There were 15,750 active cases in the state on Nov. 8. By Nov. 14, there were 18,747 and 19,360 the next day.

Just as with increases in active cases in the state, confirmed cases in K-12 students and staff declined the same time confirmed and active cases did in the state.

Active COVID-19 cases in the state dropped below 10,000 on Dec. 17 when 8,756 active cases were recorded.

Reported cases in the schools dipped below 500 during the week of Dec. 13-19 when 435 cases were reported.

The COVID-19 school cases continued to decline but never got below 100 each week until May 2-8 when 97 cases were reported.

“We are confident the provided data helped many school districts around the state, as well as families, keep track of cases statewide,” Bucheli said.

Bucheli said the COVID-19 school data reflects mitigation practices and the availability of vaccines.

Now, the DOH wants parents and students to take action for next year.

“We encourage parents and students to talk about the importance of getting vaccinated now that they are available for those 12-15 in preparation for the next school year,” Bucheli said.

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