The stressors for South Dakota school districts this year

Local News

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) – Usually, school district administrators talk about A.P. classes and accreditation reviews. This year, it’s a different conversation.

“Everyone is talking about how you are handling contact tracing, how are you dealing with quarantining, how are you doing, you know, when your buses are traveling with separating kids and all of those kinds of things that are just above and beyond what the normal conversation and language of education are,” Rob Monson, the Executive Director for the School Administrators of South Dakota, said.

Monson says districts are stressed on many levels. He says administrators are helping with contact tracing by taking phone calls late at night and on weekends to make lists for the Department of Health.

“It’s just additional stress on top of everybody on top of the normal school business,” Monson said.

Monson says there is also a shortage of substitute teachers at some schools.

“One of the larger AA schools in South Dakota last week was short nine substitutes in the high school and five in the elementary, middle school. You can’t just make up subs with the wave of a magic wand. So that day the teachers all pitched in and they covered for each other and they got through the day. But as the superintendent told me, that type of practice is gonna be unsustainable as this year moves on,” Monson said.

Thursday night, Monson shared these stressers on his Facebook page in an an effort to change the conversations surrounding education and COVID-19.

“It just appears that so many people are making this so political with masks and all that and all educators are trying to do is just, as I said, keep the airplane in the air. Again, if that means wearing a mask for part of a day or going to a hybrid model for part of a week or whatever, we’re all doing everything we can to just keep kids in school, keep activities going,” Monson said.

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