Sioux Falls School District Superintendent talks more about upcoming school year

Education

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — Newly instated Sioux Falls School District superintendent Jane Stavem is giving us a better idea of what the district’s multi-million dollar plan includes.

She met virtually with the Sioux Falls Downtown Rotary on Monday. She told members building modifications, cleaning products, masks and other items needed to accommodate for COVID safety protocols cost around $7 million.

The modifications are different for each school but include proper air filtering, plexiglass barriers and social distancing dots on the floors.

“All of our building leaders are working with their staff to say, ‘How do we take this space that’s functioned in a way that’s very familiar and do something unfamiliar? Lunch, how do we space kids apart? Where else can kids eat in a building and how does change a work pattern for our custodians?’ So, there’s so many moving parts to this and the logistics are just off the charts.”

She says the cost could go up.

“One of the tricky things about this is we don’t know what the duration of this is, so as you buy masks, so that nobody goes without a mask, and you buy cleaning solution and you buy equipment to make a divider. We don’t know how long we’re going to need those things. We don’t know if it’s six months, is it two years, is it, you know, what time duration.”

If schools see cases or even an outbreak, the Sioux Falls School District has a plan in place.

Stavem explained what will happen if a student or staff member tests positive. She does not anticipate a district-wide closure like last spring, but rather smaller adjustments, building-by-building. The district has a notification process in place for students and staff.

“There are things we will do to notify individuals if they are a close contact. There are things we’ll do to notify a classroom like we would do if there was kind of something else, chickenpox, an outbreak or you know, things that people should be aware of in a general sense. And if it’s an entire school issue, that would be a notification that would come out from that principal, so we’re trying to look at it individually, small group, larger group and then whole school and then whole district as we look at those schools collectively.”

School starts next week, and the district is still looking to hire teachers for its virtual academy, as well as substitute teachers.

Watch the full interview with superintendent Stavem on the Sioux Falls Downtown Rotary Facebook page, here.

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