School Board approves COVID plan with notable revisions

RAPID CITY, S.D. — The Rapid City Area School Board approved a COVID-19 back to school plan – with a couple of revisions – Monday night.

The plan calls for no mask mandate, but revised language calls them voluntary – not recommended.

There’s a return to a five-day school week, normal visitor protocols, and enhanced hygiene protocols – which includes regular hand washing and/or use of a sanitizer.

Rcas Covid Protocols 7The district will not conduct daily health screenings;  families are urged to self-screen before the kids head to school.

Part of the initial plan included no COVID testing in the schools because, as one board member put it, schools are not medical facilities.

However, board member Amy Policky raised a question addressed to the superintendent, Dr. Lori Simon, and other board members.

Policky: “Did the South Dakota Department of Health give is those tests to perform within the school setting, understand that that is a convenience for our staff and families?”

Dr. Simon: “Absolutely, and those tests are at no cost to the school district and at no cost to staff or to families, and knew this year that we did sign up for would be access to the take home tests for any staff or families who wanted tests but maybe just weren’t comfortable having tests conducted in the school environment.”

The testing and the availability of take home tests was approved by a vote of six-to-one.

Another change this year: it will now be up to the Board – not the superintendent – to close schools due to health concerns.

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