Rapid City students and staff are back in classrooms

Education

RAPID CITY, S.D. (KELO) — Students were able to head back to their classrooms in Rapid City after two weeks of online learning.

After a surge in COVID-19 cases within the Rapid City Area Schools, more than 10 percent of staff was out due to the pandemic.

Katy Urban says now that enough teachers have either quarantined or recovered in the last two weeks, they can return to the classroom.

“We were able to adequately staff our buildings which was really the main driver for being able to switch back to ‘Level One,'” Urban said.

Right now, the district has 44 staff who actively have the virus, and 82 that are in quarantine.

Urban says it’s important for students to physically be in school rather than online, because they tend to learn better.

“‘Level Three’ is not ideal for most of our students but we feel sometimes it is necessary depending on how many staff members we have and what the spread is like in our schools but our goal will always be to get back to ‘Level One,'” Urban said.

The district made the decision for students to go back to “Level One” this Monday.

Dr. Shankar Kurra says the state of South Dakota is actually seeing a downward trend in the number of COVID-19 cases.

“But it’s a little too early. If the trend continues for the next 14-day-period that would be the best thing. That is the way to see if we are actually trending towards a new normal if you will. But right now we are still in a surge but we are on the downward part of that surge,” Dr. Kurra said.

As the number of positive cases fluctuates throughout the state, Rapid City Schools will continue to switch levels in order to keep students and staff safe.

In “Level One,” all students are able to attend class Monday through Thursday, with social distancing and wearing masks. Friday they learn online.

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