School districts reviewing COVID-19 policies as year continues

Published: Sep. 29, 2021 at 6:52 PM CDT
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ABERDEEN, S.D. (Dakota News Now) - School districts around the state are taking a look at their COVID-19 policies following comments from their communities, as schools continue to deal with the ongoing pandemic.

At the Sioux Falls School Board meeting Monday, two community members called for the district to review its policies COVID-19. They asked for changes to not only how the district tracks close contacts, but for masking and vaccines as well.

“But universal indoor masking is what the CDC recommends. Not only for all children, age 2 plus but for all staff regardless of vaccination status. We are not currently complying with this in our school district,” said Heather Krause.

In a statement, the Sioux Falls School District said,

The Sioux Falls School District continues to follow the Continue to Learn Plan which was approved in early August. We are happy to be completing the first full month of school and we look forward to parent-teacher conferences which are just around the corner. We ask families to continue to follow District guidance. Keep students home when they are ill, use face coverings, wash hands frequently, and request take-home testing kits if your child has COVID-19 symptoms.

Ben Schumacher, SFSD Communication Specialist

In Huron, the school board made changes to its COVID-19 contingency plan. A point of discussion was over its infection threshold percentage cutoffs for each of its four phases, the number of students with active infections. The board voted to adjust the percentages that would put the district in its “Orange” phase, the second-lowest by the level of severity.

The changes also dropped the district’s mask policy to “recommended” for faculty and students, ending its mandate that had been in place since the beginning of September. Huron School District Superintendent Kraig Steinhoff said the changes to the district’s threshold percentages and others come after a meeting with the Beadle County COVID-19 Task Force.

“The task force evaluated several other school districts that had threshold percentages. We reviewed those percentages, and then came up with our own percentages, based on the review of those,” said Steinhoff.

The board voted to implement the changes immediately to the district, taking effect right after it’s meeting Monday.

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