Douglas School District will now start school on Sept. 8

School employees and board members all over the Black Hills have been making some tough decisions about the upcoming school year.
Published: Aug. 28, 2020 at 4:12 PM MDT
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BOX ELDER, S.D. (KEVN) - Students who attend the Douglas School District were supposed to go back to school Monday, Aug. 31, but that date has now been pushed to Sept. 8.

Superintendent Alan Kerr says they have four staff members and two students who have tested positive for COVID-19.

“Through the contact tracing, we have 24 others that are quarantined, so we just don’t have the manpower right now to start on time,” says Kerr.

Kerr says they had 28 requests put out for subs for Monday’s original start date, but they only filled three as of Thursday, Aug. 27.

“So that means we were 25 staff members short. So it doesn’t matter we just didn’t have the subs to come in. And I don’t blame them,” says Kerr.

Starting with classroom teachers instead of substitutes can help students build trust with their teacher.

“So for us, the best beginning of the year possible is having our students with their classroom teachers. Getting to know their faces and getting to know them right from the beginning and establishing those relationships which are key to all education learning,” says an instructional leader, Shanna Sandal.

When it comes to parents, some of them said they’re happy with the decision, while others don’t feel the same way.

Now, one person did say they have mixed feelings.

“Yes and no. Just cause I don’t know if they’re going to keep pushing it further out,” says a parent, Juliana Green.

Things are constantly changing due to the pandemic, but at this time, when students return, the plan is to start on phase one.

“The least amount of mitigation, but there is still a ton of mitigations. Masks are required. We also have plexiglass barriers pretty much all over the place. They’re three sides, so once they’re in the classroom behind their barrier, they can take off their mask. Of course, we’re going to give many handwashing breaks. We’re going to have the direction of traffic in the hallways one way,” says Kerr.

Click here for more information about the district’s plan.

Copyright 2020 KOTA. All rights reserved.

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