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Watertown school district finalizes back-to-school plan

Published: Aug. 12, 2020 at 8:06 PM CDT
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WATERTOWN, S.D. (Dakota News Now) - Parents and students in the Watertown school district will have a better idea of what to expect when classes resume later this month, as the district formalizes it’s back to school plan.

The district finalized their plan in a school board meeting Monday evening, where an amendment to require masks was struck down 3-2. Dr. Jeff Danielsen, superintendent of the Watertown school district, said that the decision is in respect to the community. In the district’s survey to families in the district, an overwhelming majority of families said that they would be comfortable in sending their child back to school without a mask requirement.

“And then in that instance we actually had over 95 percent of our families say that they were comfortable bringing their child back to school with the proposed language on face coverings. That really was a big factor in the discussion at our school board meeting on Monday night.” said Danielsen.

While masks will not be required, the district is still asking anyone who can wear one to do so, in order to help prevent the spread of COVID-19.

“So we are hopeful that people will do that. We are not downplaying the helpfulness of them, but we also know that there are certain reasons why people can’t. They have medical reasons why they can’t wear one, or problems it will cause so we’re going to have exceptions.” said Danielsen.

Danielsen also says that this doesn’t mean that the district won’t look at the topic again. Should cases begin to rise in schools or the community, the school board will re-evaluate it’s plan and change if necessary.

“When I talk about the plan, I will say that as of today, August 12th, this is our plan. That’s the best we can do. We’ve seen this play out over five months, and it is a very fluid nature.” said Danielsen.

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