‘We’re not going to actively push masks to students’: Sioux Falls School Board opts to have face coverings ‘encouraged’ for students, staff

Back To School

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — The Sioux Falls School Board has approved a “Continue to Learn Plan” that encourages but does not require students and staff to wear face coverings.

The school board unanimously approved the Continue to Learn Plan on Monday night. Face coverings for students from pre-K through fifth grade are “encouraged;” this is also the case for students in sixth through 12th grades who are not vaccinated. Staff who are not vaccinated are encouraged to wear a face covering as well. Neither students nor staff are required to get the COVID-19 vaccine.

“We’ll evaluate where we are and see what we need to adjust, but our hope is that we can start school, we can continue school because our children need to be in class, and we know that that was important last year and it’s important that we continue to prioritize children in school,” superintendent Jane Stavem said.

Assistant superintendent Jamie Nold says the plan is not set in stone.

“The plan is a living document,” Nold said. “We will continue to modify it or work with it as we need to as situations change within our community and our school system. The plan will guide us for the start of the 21-22 school year. The plan was created and revised based on feedback from students, parents, staff, community partners and administration.”

Stavem expounded on the term “encouraged” before the board unanimously approved the plan.

“Encouraged means that it’s a healthy thing to do,” Stavem said. “We’re not going to actively push masks to students, but we also know that in other illnesses, RSV, measles, whooping cough, all of those things, a family may want to do a preventative measure with a mask, but we’re also trying to navigate with where our community is right now.”

The first day of the school year is August 26.

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