SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) – In just a few weeks, many students in KELOLAND will be starting school again. As districts prepare to bring students, teachers and staff back, Governor Kristi Noem gave an update on how schools will reopen in the fall.
Back in March, school districts across the state transitioned to remote learning due to the pandemic.
Now, four and a half months later, Governor Kristi Noem wants kids back in school.
“Right now the best decision we can make for our kids, for their full development and well-being, is to get them back in school,” Governor Kristi Noem said.
Governor Noem says online learning is not a long term solution. She says about 30% of the state’s students did not participate in remote learning.
“Some of our schools haven’t heard from these kids since March,” Noem said. “I would say that one of the populations that this is very true for is those in the most vulnerable populations, those in poverty areas, those kids that maybe don’t have a support system, and those are the ones I am concerned about.”
The governor does not recommend that school districts require masks for students.
“The reality of them keeping them on for 7-8 hours a day is going to be a challenge in how they learn,” Noem said. “The most effective things those kids could do is wash their hands on a regular basis throughout the day and especially since there is low transmission rate between children.”
Additionally, she says schools will need to be flexible and make adjustments as needed.
“For many students, the consequences of not being in school are far greater than the health risks of dealing with COVID, kids thrive on routine, and being in a supportive, social environment, long term, remote learning can’t replace any of those needs,” Noem said.
Governor Noem says $47 million has already been allocated to education systems across the state to help schools implement safety guidelines. She also says more funds are expected from the state and federal governments.