RAPID CITY, S.D. — The 2021-2022 school is approaching – fast.
The first day of classes is August 24.
With two weeks to go before students roam the halls of Rapid City Schools, things have certainly changed for educators and administrators from one year ago.
RCAS says 80 percent of its staff and a large portion of its students in grades six through 12 are fully vaccinated as cases rise due to the COVID-19 Delta Variant.
“I think we’re feeling a little bit more comfortable than say last year at this time because of that, however we know that the Rally is here and that there’s been a lot of tourism and certainly things could change in a dime, so we’re gunna continue to monitor those numbers and do what we can to put safety measures in place to keep kids safe,” said Katy urban, the Community Relations Manager with Rapid City Area Schools.
In part of its preparation, on Monday, the school district sent out its revised list of COVID-19 protocols for area families which will then be discussed and potentially voted on at the next board of education meeting.
Some recommendations include masks to be voluntary unless cases start to rise considerably and parents to screen their children.
The school district also won’t offer a large-scale distance learning program as a teacher shortage is forcing the district to get creative by including sign-on bonuses and calling on its current teachers to serve in more capacities.
“At this point in time, we have more than 20 teaching positions that are open,” Urban said. “We have numerous classified positions, specifically in our student nutrition and our custodial crews really need help and that’s something that’s a huge challenge for us right now.”
The next board of education meeting is set for August 23.
The full list of recommendations is:
- RCAS will not be offering a large-scale Distance Learning program this year. While there is a small Virtual Learning Pilot at each level – elementary, middle and high school – the slots have already been filled. The District does not have the staffing available to offer Distance Learning to every student.
- Masking is not required; it is voluntary. However, Dr. Simon and the District health team will monitor our data daily and will highly recommend masks be worn if COVID-19 cases escalate quickly.
- Should COVID-19 case data become significant, Dr. Simon may make a recommendation to the Board of Education for a temporary mask mandate.
- Please continue to screen your child for symptoms of COVID-19 before they come to school. Checkout our COVID-19 signs and symptoms screener included in the Ready. Set. Start. Plan.
- We will continue to track COVID-19 cases in our District and will post case numbers on our website weekly beginning the first week of school.
- We will continue to send a notification to staff and families if there is a positive COVID-19 case in your child’s building.
- Our nursing team will continue to do contact tracing. Students/staff who are identified as close contacts and are not vaccinated will be required to quarantine for a minimum of seven days. If they receive a negative test on day 5,6, or 7 of their quarantine period, they can return to school/work on day 8.
- Our nursing team will continue to offer COVID-19 testing to staff and students once school begins. Simply click here to schedule a test. Additionally, this year, the state of South Dakota is offering COVID-19 take home tests. A limited number of those tests will be available. Please speak with your building nurse for more information.