Rapid City School Board decision leaves the District divided

Local News

RAPID CITY, S.D. (KELO) — Some parents cheered when Rapid City Area Schools decided not to require masks this year, others are considering pulling their students out of school to keep them safe.

With three kids, a full-time job, and not much time on her hands, Ginny Webb says she is not able to home-school this year.

Which made her son’s first day of class a difficult experience.

“When he was two weeks old, he had really severe RSV and he was in the pediatric ICU on a non-invasive vent so I’ve been worried about him throughout the whole pandemic. And so today I had to put him on a bus, knowing that he’s going into a classroom where he is probably going to be the only one wearing a mask,” Webb said.

Other parents, including Erika Peterson, already made the decision to home school her son. Peterson says this is a new experience for her family.

“Our freedom to be able to put our kid in a public school system and know that he’s safe was completely diminished and it just wasn’t an option on Monday anymore,” Peterson said.

The Rapid City School Board rejected the District administration’s proposed Ready. Set. Start. COVID-19 mitigation plan. Instead, the Board approved a revised version of the plan.

“Masks, instead of saying recommended, they are saying voluntary,” Kate Thomas, Rapid City School Board President, said.

It’s a decision that received some support from the crowd.

“I just wanted to say tonight thank you. I appreciate that you guys are willing to allow teachers and parents and students to make decisions for their families and themselves,” Kristen Mitzel said.

However the decision has left the district divided.

“At the end of the day, it is not a political thing at all, it is honestly just where is the safest place for our kids and right now that option is very limited. We don’t have the option of being able to put our kid in a public school system and still have that safety in mind,” Peterson said.

“And if the school board doesn’t take steps to implement safety procedures, it is a distinct possibility that I will find alternative options,” Webb said.

KELOLAND News reached out to the Rapid City School Board president and other members. We did not hear back in time for the airing of this story.

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