Gov. Kristi Noem has provided the following message:
Thank you to you and your staff for all you’ve done over the last two weeks to support students and families. In these unprecedented times you’ve made quick shifts in your delivery and opened access to your resources in heroic ways. I appreciate your willingness to do what’s been needed as we’ve lessened the impacts of COVID-19.
School closures and social distancing are helping us flatten the curve and ensure our healthcare facilities are able to provide essential care. Our modeling suggests that the impact of this virus will be felt for months, not weeks. It’s possible that our COVID-19 cases will peak in May here in South Dakota.
Because of this, I am asking you to continue your practices of the last two weeks and keep schools closed through Friday, May 1st.
Please continue to assist your communities during this time. I’ve heard of many innovative approaches, including:
- Offering meals through the school lunch program. 149 schools and 4 community organizations are doing this.
- Making child care available to school-aged kids of healthcare workers and emergency responders. (With long term closures, this may include in-person instruction for these students.)
- Putting online learning into action for those with internet access.
- Getting instructional packets/materials to students who don’t have internet at home.
- Offering limited, in-person services to special education and other students as necessary.
- Continuing to pay hourly/classified staff through school closures.
If you bring staff and students into your facilities during school closures, do so safely.
- Ensure staff and kids practice good hygiene.
- Clean facilities/surfaces frequently.
- Staff the schools with individuals who are not in the vulnerable population.
- Check children and staff for symptoms as they enter the building. Individuals who are sick should remain at home.
- Manage drop-off and pick-up points. Keep entry and exit to the building in a small, well-managed area.
- Keep groups small to maintain space between kids and staff.
- If a parent/guardian of a child in your direct care is positive for COVID-19 or must be quarantined because of contact with a positive case, the child should not be in the care of the school.
As you have questions regarding school closures, please reach out to our office at (605)773-3212.