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Back to School Plan comes to a vote at Meade School Board meeting

STURGIS, SD – Meade School District 46-1 will begin the school year on August 30 with no mask mandate or COVID-19 vaccination requirement for those of eligible age.

The district’s Back to School Plan has been available on line for about a month and a half.

Meade School District 46-1 Superintendent Don Kirkegaard

“We were very pleased with how things worked out in the 2020-2021 school year,” says Kirkegaard. “The Back to School Plan has been on line for about a month and a half with a few revisions along the way. But most the work was done before Delta variant became a concern. He continued, “At this point in time, we’re not planning on revising anything. We do have an opportunity for public input at our school board meeting on Monday. The board will make a decision at that time.”

Developed following last year’s plan, Superintendent Don Kirkegaard is confident the plan is proactive while reasonable for parents, students, teachers and staff.

“We’ll try to make it as positive as we can, knowing that kids want to be in school, parents want their kids in school, and at the same time we want to be sure we’re doing everything we can to keep kids and faculty safe and healthy.”

He explained the four levels of COVID-19 spread and mitigation response.
“There are four levels. Level Green, students and staff can wear a mask or not. There will be as much social distancing as possible. The second Level White is where masks are recommended but not required. And we continue with other mitigation strategies.  The third is Level Orange. At this level there is more spread in the school and community. Masks are required if you can’t social distance – for example in hallways.  Level Red is the fourth measure where there is  significant spread in the district or in a specific building.  At that point in time, there would be a special school board meeting to determine the best option going forward whether that would be remote learning or a combination with every-other-day in school learning.

“Hopefully, we never get to that spot.”

The Back to School Plan is built to be flexible if necessary, says Kirkegaard.

“It’s a working document so if things change where we need to go in and revise it, that’s what we’ll do.”

In addition to the Back to School Plan, the district will have an on line dashboard that is updated twice a week with current COVID-19 cases, including what level of infection the district and/or particular schools are at.

At the Aug. 16 meeting of the Meade District 46-1 School Board, the plan will be reviewed and comments taken.  Later in the board meeting agenda there is an action item for a vote.

“Last year we had great cooperation from our community, parents, students, and faculty,” shared Kirkegaard.  “We anticipate the same cooperation this year.”  He continued, “We know face-to-face instruction is the best avenue for our kids. It’s the best avenue for everybody.  Our goal is to be face-to-face 100% of the time.  But we also know that if things change, we’re going to be fluid in making the changes as we need to.”

Read the Back to School Plan here

Listen to the complete interview with Superintendent Kirkegaard here

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