Graduation to be in-person, vaccinations have started for SF School District


SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — School districts across the country during the COVID-19 pandemic had to balance two needs: to help keep kids as safe as possible and to continue teaching them.

On Monday night Sioux Falls School District Superintendent Jane Stavem shared data about COVID-19 right now in the district. 0.12% of students and 0.26% of staff are positive. 1.57% of students are in quarantine, while 0.55% of staff are in quarantine. Stavem says the expected preventative measures are going to stay.

“Right now I don’t see any time soon that we’re going to give up things like masks, like handwashing, like spacing and the protocols that we’ve done with cleaning,” Stavem said.

The district’s leader also touched on an event that will have the attention of parents and students alike.

“Graduation right now is scheduled, we believe we’ll be able to do in-person graduation,” Stavem said. “I don’t think it will need to look virtual like it did last year. We’re looking at how that’s going to look at the Arena where we have it scheduled for right now.”

Vaccinations have started. Stavem says school nurses got the first dose on December 30. On January 14, school counselors were able to start getting the vaccine. On Monday, the district learned physical, occupational and speech therapists are now eligible.

“On January 26 our school nurses are going to receive their second dose of the vaccine, and then we’re in the process of planning and coordinating what might this look like when we’re able to then start bringing the rest of our staff along for having the vaccine,” Stavem said.

All told, no school has completely shut down this school year because of COVID-19.

“In a few isolated incidences, we’ve had to have a classroom go online for a period of time,” Stavem said. “It could be a variety of different scenarios that would have caused that, but we have not had to close down any schools, and we’re really proud of that.”

“The efforts that everyone has put into keeping our kids safe and our staff safe is just been incredible, and I’m just so thankful that we work in a district that has put these protocols in place and supported them and helped us keep our kids in school,” school board member Kate Parker said. “And let’s just keep at it so that we can finish second semester in the buildings.”

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