Parents share concerns with Sioux Falls School District’s COVID-19 mitigation policies

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SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — Jen Dreiske has two kids in the Sioux Falls School District; she is also a board member for the nonprofit group South Dakota Voices for Peace. Two parents spoke at Monday night’s school board meeting, and Dreiske tells KELOLAND News she helped organize this.

“We want to have stricter COVID precautions to keep our children safe,” Dreiske said. “We would like to go back to what was offered last year, where masks were expected from teachers and students. We would like to have better contact tracing.”

One of the parents who spoke Monday night was Erinn Williams, who is a parent of two children in the district.

“I want masks to be expected,” said Williams, who lives in Sioux Falls. “I want contact tracing and notification for parents, so that parents don’t have to guess whether or not the kid in the class that was the positive was the one they were with every single day or some random kid that they don’t see.”

“I’m terrified that in a year’s time, when my kid is going into kindergarten, we are still going to be facing this problem because we continue to neglect the measures that need to be taken to keep COVID out of our community,” parent Heather Krause of Sioux Falls said.

Krause also spoke Monday night.

“We would hope that they can strongly encourage all staff to be vaccinated,” Krause said. “That is the best way to avoid the spread right now, particularly in an area where there’s a lot of children who can’t be vaccinated.”

KELOLAND News reached out to the district and requested an interview to discuss COVID-19 mitigation policies. They did not grant an interview, but they did send the following statement:

“District continues to follow the Continue to Learn Plan which was approved in early August. We are happy to be completing the first full month of school and we look forward to parent-teacher conferences which are just around the corner. We ask families to continue to follow District guidance. Keep students home when they are ill, use face coverings, wash hands frequently, and request take-home testing kits if your child has COVID-19 symptoms.” 

“We’re concerned about the effects of COVID and the trauma that can cause on our children, either getting COVID and being hospitalized or passing COVID on to loved ones,” Dreiske said.

According to South Dakota Voices for Peace executive director Taneeza Islam, there were 26 people at the board meeting on Monday night wearing masks in a show of solidarity for stricter COVID-19 mitigation measures.

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