Spearfish schools to discuss later opening, COVID plans

SPEARFISH — The Spearfish School District will hold a special meeting Wednesday to discuss a later start date of the school year and the re-start plan.

Previously, the district planned to start the 2020-2021 school year with students in class on Aug. 27. But Tuesday, the district announced a special meeting for 5:30 p.m. Wednesday. It will be held at the high school auditorium.

The action item will be to move the first day of school back to Tuesday, Sept. 8, the day after Labor Day.

If the board approves the date change, the last day of school would likely be June 4, 2021, and the start/end dates for semesters and trimesters would also be changed.

A second special meeting will likely be held at 5:30 p.m. Aug. 3.

Additionally, the re-opening plans are scheduled to be discussed.

On July 13, the school board members were presented with the preliminary re-entry plan. It outlined a three-tiered operational plan accounting for no COVID-19 cases within the district, a moderate spread, and a significant spread. A survey was also sent to parents with a box to provide feedback on the plan.

Superintendent Kirk Easton said those comments would be considered in implementing the final plan.

Much of how the district operates will depend on the rate of community spread of COVID-19. As of Sunday, there were 25 total cases of which 23 patients have fully recovered.

The preliminary plan indicates three operational categories:

• Category 1, zero cases in a school building.

• Category 2, isolated cases in a school building.

• Category 3, substantial cases in a school building.

School would proceed as normal, with precautions taken under Category 1.

In Category 2, the district would be more restrictive, cancel certain things, prohibit visitors, and require masks.

In Category 3, education would be remote once again. That being said, Easton assured parents that any isolation of individual students, a classroom, or a building would be as short of a duration as possible. And the same is true for the remote learning, should it be necessary. He said the state Department of Health would conduct contact tracing and assist the district in making health decisions.

If you are unable to attend the meeting, it will be live streamed. You can watch it by visiting, http://spearfishspartans.liveticket.tv/

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