Sioux Falls schools begin classes with pandemic plan in place

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Back To School

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — Just as another surge of COVID-19 hits KELOLAND, the Sioux Falls District will welcome more kids back to class tomorrow.

Administrators and teachers have a challenge on their hands as the Delta variant targets younger people. The Sioux Falls School District has a plan called “Continue to Learn.” It spells out how the district will keep kids in class in the midst of COVID-19 and includes lessons learned from last year.

Superintendent Jane Stavem says the district’s job is to educate kids.

“And just like last year if we need to make adjustments along the way we can,” she said.

While the CDC and the South Dakota Department of Health say teachers and students should wear masks this fall. The Sioux Falls district’s plan only encourages kids and teachers who are not vaccinated to wear masks.

If a child tests positive, a letter will go out to all parents in the school. Parents of kids in the same class will get another letter advising them of precautions and the state health department will follow up. Kids who test positive will be expected to stay home for 10 days, so parents need to have a plan.

Some kids struggled with learning last year, and Stavem says one priority is making sure that doesn’t happen this year.

“We have to bring back some of those things that really help us do our best work with kids, connecting them with caring adults, keeping them in their activities, keeping them with each other, and keeping them in that classroom for their learning,” said Stavem.

Everyone has a different comfort level when it comes to the pandemic, and Stavem understands there is no way the parents of 24,000 student will all agree on how to keep kids safe.

“We look all across the country and you see some real ugliness coming from this, we don’t want to have that in the Sioux Falls School District or in our community, and so it’s trying to border on helping people do the things that they feel are really important and necessary, while also maintaining a welcoming environment.”

The first classes begin Thursday morning at 8:00 a.m. at elementary schools.

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