PIERRE, S.D. (KELO) –South Dakota School Districts won’t need to meet the state-required school face-to-face minimum hours during the COVID-19 pandemic, according to legislation passed Monday in Pierre.
The state Legislature approved waiving required minimum student hours if a state of emergency is declared by the governor, state education secretary or the president. School districts will be required to submit alternative student learning plans to the state during emergency closings.
The Legislature also approved waiving state accountability required testing for the 2019-2020 school year.
“Senate Bills 188 and 189 accomplished what we anticipated prior to the session,” Sioux Falls School District Superintendent Brian Maher said in an email response to questions. “Together, these bills will provide us the flexibility to work with our students without worry about keeping an exact count of minutes or teaching to a test. Our teachers will have the ability to move forward as they have been in doing what is best for our kids and our community.”
Maher said the steps taken were wise and necessary and helped to relieve some fear in schools.
Earlier this month President Donald Trump waived all federally mandatory testing for students.
For more on the Legislature’s actions on Monday, see KELOLAND’s Bob Mercer’s story at Governor wanted, and legislators gave, more ways for South Dakota to out-wait COVID-19.