Dell Rapids St. Mary has closed its school down for the rest of the week due to covid-19.
Five staff members have tested positive and so have a number of students, so the decision was made yesterday to shutdown for the entire week.
The sign on the front door of St. Mary reads masks are mandatory, but even that couldn’t stop the spread of COVID-19 in the school.
Five staff members and at least 15 students have all tested positive for the virus, so the decision was made to close the school.
“Let’s take a breath, let’s take a breath, let’s reset, we talked about this at the beginning of the school year with our return to learn plan, we knew this was possible that if we got to a certain point we may have to suspend classes and refresh and renew and come back at full strength,” Stevens said.
Because St. Mary is a small school with 230 students, Father Stevens says the decision was made to shutdown the school for the week, because they probably wouldn’t have enough substitutes if the situation got worse.
“The number one reason was and our number one concern was having adequate staffing in place,” Stevens said.
“To be honest if you have four, now five folks who have tested positive, it’s very possible we may have other adults as well,” Stevens said.
One parent, who also chairs the school board, is okay with closing school.
“I have full trust in our administration and I think they were doing everything they can to keep our kids safe keep teachers safe but at the end of the day the numbers were stacked against the school so as a parent I feel like it was the right decision, It was a tough decision and creates some dilemma for some families, but I think it was the right decision,” Adam Heinitz said.
“We will look at it Wednesday to see how things are if we need to shift into remote learning we can do that obviously our goal is and has always been to keep the faculty and staff and students in school, we think that’s the best for them,” Stevens said.
Father Stevens says the school will decide at a later date when to make up these missed days.