How does mask mandate impact Sioux Falls schools?

Education

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — As the largest in the state, the Sioux Falls School District is responsible for 25,000 young lives. Now that the city council has passed a mask mandate, we wanted to find out how that impacts your kids as they head off to class every day.

Not only is the district responsible for the education and safety of thousands of kids, they must also protect the 3,400 staff members. Superintendent Jane Staven says the mask mandate passed by the city council falls in line with their current policy.

“You know that ordinance was aimed primarily at businesses, we think it’s really complementary to what we’ve been doing at the beginning of the school year. It’s not perfect but if you walk through our halls you will see the vast majority of kids and staff in masks,” said Stavem

Stavem says the city ordinance will have an impact on schools, but not in the way you might think.

“I think what it does is sends a message that it’s not just when you are in school it’s when you are out in the community as well. And that everybody is collectively trying to pay attention to the need to slow down the rate of transmission, and so what we would hope is that there is an impact that we would see community-wide and that supports our core mission which is educating students and keeping our doors open,” said Stavem.

Stavem says teaching is already a profession that requires hard work. Adding the constraints and extra duties the pandemic brings only adds to the workload. She believes the teachers and staff are tired but determined.

“It’s not easy it’s been a really tough year, but we’re just celebrating the fact that its almost Thanksgiving and we’re grateful to have provided education to our students, their futures really depend on our ability to educate them, while even in this time of Covid,” said Stavem.

Staven also addressed a rumor circulating among some parents that the district would move to online learning only after Thanksgiving. She says they have no plans to do that and their goal is to keep their doors open as long as they can keep kids safe.

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