The Dell Rapids School District is making plans to start the 2020-2021 school year in person. The administration has been working on the “Return to Learn” document, and Dell Rapids Superintendent Dr. Summer Schultz said that document is almost complete.
“We have established four tiers knowing that with a virus such as Covid, that this is a fluid situation. We don’t know where we’ll be from one time to another. And so we are going in on what we call level two. We plan for on-site learning. We expect our kids to be in school. Now we also know that some students are considered medically fragile, and that’s just not the right environment for them. We also know that some parents are going to choose to educate their children at home in what we’ll call ‘parallel instruction’, and that’s different than what we went into last spring,” said Dr. Schultz.
Under the level two, when kids are on site, if a parent decides to keep their child at home for “parallel learning”, Dr. Schultz said the parents will be taking on more of the ownership of the distance instruction. She mentioned that the school is putting in devices, called Swivels, to help connect the home learners with what’s happening in the classroom.
The main areas still being determined are decisions on masks, transportation, and activities.
“Masks are one of those areas from one school to the next can differ,” Dr. Schultz mentioned. “Masks are something that people have very strong opinions on, so we don’t want masks to be a deterant for someone to attend school or not to attend school, But we also want to make sure we are providing the safest environment for our staff and for our students. We are still trying to decide what that looks like when it comes to masks.”
Transportation and activities are the other two big areas that were still trying to be determined. Dr. Schultz mentioned that keeping kids together in the same age/class group as much as possible throughout the day. By doing that, the administration team is still trying to determine details of how students may be transported on buses before and after school, details of how before and after school Haven might work, and how students may travel to their different activities or sporting events.
The finalized “Return to Learn” document will be presented to the Dell Rapids Board of Education on Monday, July 27th. Big Sioux Media will stream that meeting.
The school board has already made one change to the school year. The first day of school has now been moved to Monday, August 31st with the 27th and 28th being orientation/open house activities for students and parents.