New visa suspensions have Sioux Falls School District looking to community members for help


SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — The Sioux Falls School District will be looking for help in several classrooms this year following an executive order from President Trump suspending some new visas for foreign workers. The district uses H-1B and J-1 Visas to hire teachers and interns for the Spanish Immersion programs at a handful of schools.

Roughly 30 positions district-wide at schools such as Sonia Sotomayor, Edison and Lincoln are filled using the visas now under suspension.

“Good news is we do have classrooms covered. We’re working on this waiver with our immigration attorney and we hope to have these teachers join us,” Dorman said.

Unfortunately, Senior Human Resources Director Becky Dorman with the Sioux Falls School District says there’s no timeline for when those exemptions could be approved.

“Leaves us in kind of a pickle. There is a carve-out exemption that we are working with our immigration attorney on to be able to demonstrate that it is in the national interest to allow these teachers to come educate our students,” Dorman said.

In the meantime, the district wants to be prepared to start the school year without foreign workers.

“You have the interns that come in as the classroom assistants and there’s well over 20 of those district-wide and we secure those individuals through an organization called Amity and they’re on a J-1 Visa and then it’s our actual teachers on H-1 Visas that we’re not able to bring in either at this time,” Dorman said.

Dorman says alternate plans are already in place to account for the missing educators. New positions will also be posted online soon as the district wants local Spanish-speaking residents to apply to be educational assistants.

“We believe that there are people in our community that are fully qualified and would be looking for a role like this. So we’re excited that that opportunity might come to fruition for some individuals,” Dorman said.

If you would be interested in one of the education assistant roles, you can contact the human resource department for the Sioux Falls School District.

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