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Noem says she won’t issue statewide directive prohibiting or requiring masks in school

(KSFY)
Published: Jul. 28, 2021 at 3:37 PM CDT
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SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (Dakota News Now) - South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem says she won’t be issuing any directive to prohibit or require masks in schools.

Gov. Noem made the announcement Wednesday following the U.S. Centers for Disease Control updating its masking guidance recommending masks for all teachers, staff, students, and visitors at schools nationwide, regardless of vaccination status.

Noem says her position on mask mandates has not changed in that she believes it’s the government’s role to guide the public.

“School administrators should ensure their policies are consistent, sustainable, and prevent disruption to our students’ education,” says Noem.

The CDC has updated some masking guidelines, recommending that even vaccinated people return to wearing masks indoors in parts of the U.S. where the delta variant of the coronavirus is fueling infection surges. The CDC cited new information on the delta variants’ ability to spread among vaccinated people.

The Sioux Falls School District has not yet stated whether it will require masks for teachers, students, or staff. The school district’s “Continue to Learn” is expected to be shared with parents Wednesday afternoon. The first day of school is August 26.

You can read Noem’s full statement below:

My position on mask mandates has not changed. School leaders should consider the full impact on learning and social development that masks can have on children. It is government’s role to guide the public by providing them the science, facts, and data to make their own educated decisions. I will not be issuing any statewide directive either requiring or prohibiting masks in our schools.

Changing CDC guidelines don’t help ensure the public’s trust. I expect our schools to remain focused on in-person learning for students this fall. School administrators should ensure their policies are consistent, sustainable, and prevent disruption to our students’ education. South Dakota kept our kids in school all last year, and this next school year should be no different.

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