Meade County Schools head back with masks and a positive attitude

STURGIS, S.D. — Meade County Schools head back in one week and plan to do so with masks and a positive attitude.

The Meade County School Board met Monday night to approve the back-to-school plan and set the marker for their return. On a three-phase system – green, orange, and red – the board voted to return with a phase two approach, or orange. This assumes there are isolated cases in the school building. It also means that students will be required to wear masks, just not all the time.

“For the biggest majority of the time when masks will be used will be when kids come to school and social distance or when high school kids are going from one class to the next class when there are a lot of kids in the hallway,” said Don Kirkegaard, Interim Superintendent of Meade County Schools.

In the classrooms, Kirkegaard says students should be able to spread out to the point where a social distance can be maintained. Tables that would seat multiple students will be swapped out for desks and until then, dividers would act as a barrier.

Phase one goes into effect when there are less than 1% of COVID cases in a school’s building. To bump up from phase two to three, active cases in a building must exceed 3% of the building’s enrollment, triggering remote learning and the cancellation of school activities for at least ten days.

As the response varies from school to school, Kirkegaard emphasizes flexibility among teachers, students, and families.

“If a teacher in a class is going to quarantine, we’re going to try to hold class from home just like we did last year,” said Kirkegaard. “Sometimes the teacher will be at home and the students will be in school and the teacher will help prepare the class and the substitute will be there and sometimes each circumstance is going to be different. It won’t be a one size fits all for any of them, so we do what we can do to make it the best for everyone, even knowing it will be different for one than it is the next.”

And when children don’t feel well, he says it’s more important now more than ever to keep students home who begin to experience symptoms.

“I know there will be some bumps along the road and some things were going to have to adjust but I think we’re going to have a great year,” said Kirkegaard. “We’re going to have a great year because of the excitement and enthusiasm we have with our faculty to get back to work as well as our teachers and students and parents to get back to school and the one thing we really want to emphasize is we need everyone’s cooperation.”

To read the full plan, visit the Meade County School District’s website. 

Categories: Coronavirus, Local News, South Dakota News

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