First day of school for Sioux Falls School District: What you need know

Education

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — After an extended break from learning inside school buildings because of the COVID-19 pandemic, students in the Sioux Falls School District returned to schools across the city Thursday morning. 

Catch up on KELOLAND News’ latest stories on what is happening with the Sioux Falls School District’s “Return to Learn” plan. Stay with KELOLAND News online and on-air for more coverage.

As some students head back to the classroom, others will take place in the SFSD’s first-ever “Virtual Academy.” Teachers Pam Espeland and Jill Seiler showed us how they are preparing for the start of school.

On Monday, the school board unanimously approved the “Return to Learn” plan, which included a status level. The status of each school will be somewhere on a green, yellow and red continuum. Green level one means no confirmed COVID-19 cases and the schedule is normal. Green level two means that there is a case and the classroom schedule is changed. Yellow means there is spread and the building’s schedule will be changed.

Each school begins at the green level.

Students whose last names start with A – K will be in class on Thursday; students with last names that start with L – Z will have their first day on Friday, August 28.

Sioux Falls police say they won’t be cutting drivers any slack when it comes to obeying traffic laws in school zones. Officers will be out in force starting next week to crack-down on drivers who speed near schools.

When the hallways went dark in Sioux Falls schools last March, because of COVID-19, students were sent home to learn online, but some were MIA: Missing In Action.

“We had 3% of our students who weren’t engaged,” assistant superintendent Teresa Boysen said.

That’s 700 students throughout the district who never made contact with their teachers the last quarter.

Staff members at Lincoln High School are getting ready to welcome back students. Thanks to a partnership with Raven Industries, they’re building separators in classrooms to make the environment safer for learning during the pandemic.

The rearrangement of classrooms is one of the challenges the school district had to overcome when it planned for in person instruction this fall for the 2020-2021 school year.

Although the Centers for Disease Control recommends putting one student to a bus row and skipping rows when possible, there is no practical way for the Sioux Falls School District to follow that recommendation, said Carly Uthe, a SFSD spokeswoman and Steve Hey, the president of the company that transports SFSD students.

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