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Potential change to RCAS COVID plan causes parents to weigh in

Both moms represent other district parents with the same views
Published: Dec. 2, 2020 at 7:05 PM MST
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RAPID CITY, S.D. (KEVN) - The Rapid City Area School Board met at 5:30 p.m. Wednesday night to discuss their COVID-19 plan.

On Monday, a parent shared with us her concerns for switching levels.

Wednesday, she shared her hopes for both an update to the level change criteria and a change to the spring semester, while a mom with opposing views also weighed in.

“We have believed all along that Dr. Simon and the school board and the rest of the administrative team care deeply for our kids,” said Jackie Jessop Rising, a concerned parent. “We just felt that it was time to reevaluate these levels, and we wish that it had been done earlier instead of later.”

“To me, taking apart a plan that we’ve put into place and trying to change it for the second semester when we’re barely starting to make it work is just unnecessary and contentious, and it doesn’t need to be,” said Natalie LaFrance-Slack, another RCAS parent.

Both moms represent other district parents with the same views. Jessop Rising wants to see more criteria for moving levels and even wants level one to move to five days of in-person learning.

“We would for sure like to see when we’re in level one that we are in school five days a week,” said Jessop Rising. “At this point, there really is no need for an eLearning day, when we’ve had a whole semester of eLearning.”

Whereas LaFrance-Slack says that’s not needed.

“I want my kids in school,” said LaFrance-Slack. “I want my kids to be there, I want them to learn but the teachers that I know need Friday, to work with kids who are quarantined, to work with kids who are distance learning, to catch up, to plan ahead for a level change that might be on the horizon.”

LaFrance-Slack said she doesn’t want this schedule forever but that it’s what’s needed right now.

“I guess I’ve never been an advocate of a four-day school week in the past,” said LaFrance-Slack. “I don’t know that it works best for working families, but these are not normal circumstances and I felt like the four-day school week that RCAS came up with, with the fifth day being a distance learning day, really worked kind of as a compromise.”

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