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UPDATE March 26th:

Dear Parents, Students, and Community Members,

 

I am sure everyone is aware that school closures in South Dakota have been extended through May 1.  School and school events, like all things in our community and region, are in a state of uncertainty.  We can-not guarantee that on any specific date we will be back in school and we can-not guarantee that any school event will take place on the date it is scheduled for.  I think most of us understand these things are out of our control.  Stating that I do not know if we will return to school or if we will have any of the scheduled school events this spring truly weighs heavily on me.  I truly wish I could deliver a different message.

 

Below are some common questions:

 

Do These Days Of At Home Learning Count:  Yes.  We began to implement at home learning Monday, March 23.  The state has provided guidance that any days which we provide at home learning will be credited towards fulfilling the requirements for attending school.  In short, that means the days from March 23 on count as school days.

 

Will Students Receive Grades: Yes.  As appropriate, student activities will be graded and count towards determining a student’s final grade in their courses in the same manner grades were utilized and determined prior to school being closed.  Specifically, for High School students, the grades and courses will be part of their high school transcript in the same manner as grades and courses have always been part of their HS transcript. 

 

What Is The Status Of School Activities: In conjunction with the school closure, there will not be any school activities through May 1. 

 

We can-not make any decisions for any activities after May 1 until we know the status of Coronavirus in our state and nation.  Like everyone, we are relying on our health officials and government officials to determine the status of school and school events. 

 

Two common questions for high school we are receiving concern graduation and prom. 

  • We can-not have prom as scheduled.  At this time, we just do not know what May will bring and we will have to wait to see the status of our schools and state after May 1 to make decisions regarding prom. 
  • Graduation is still scheduled for May 9 at 11:00 am.  If schools are still under closure at that time, we will have to look for alternative dates. All school activities are important; graduation is a pinnacle event and we will do all we can to have a graduation.

 

Please continue to pull together and support each other.  We, and I, continue to miss our students each day.

 

Sincerely,

 

Dr. Jerry Rasmussen

Superintendent of Schools


UPDATE March 24th:

Governor Noem has extended school closures for education and activities through May 1st.  School districts are all communicating with each other to collaborate on how to navigate through the closures.  More guidance will follow concerning the month of April for education and activities.


UPDATE March 20th:

Dear Parents, Students, and Community Members,


I keep hearing of our “new normal”. I understand we use that term, as do I, to try and understand where we are at and what has transpired recently. However, this isn’t “normal”. For us, no training existed on how to in a matter of days be set up to offer at home learning to students during a Pandemic. For parents, most were probably not trained on how to replace school with learning at home. For our students, I am sure they never imagined their school closing and the confusion that brings.


The week of the 9th, we had begun multiple communications with network of schools, the Dept. of Ed, CDC, and the Health Officials to transition to having school but only with students and our staff. We were developing plans and communication to explain the cautions we would be implementing as we continued to have school, but no visitors or activities. In our state, all the information we were receiving was to keep our schools open, so no focus was on how to move learning from school based to home based, which is a huge task.


With our first announced shut down of school for one week, we were told to focus on cleaning the building, keep the students at home, and stand by for additional information. We literally learned of the shutdown when the media reported it midday Friday; schools did not receive advance notice and had no more information than no school for one week.


When the Governor announced an additional week of closure, school districts in South Dakota began tremendous amounts of networking and communication as to “how” do we move to at home learning with not all children having the internet, devices, and for parents the possible challenges of working, taking care of all the normal household items, find child care possibly, and then be handed the task of education their own children. How could we support and help students and parents, yet not overwhelm students and parents when the teacher can’t physically do what they do best – work directly with students to guide their learning.


We had three focuses:
a. Work through the federal and state regulations to begin offering food for students as soon as possible.
b. Diligently put in place a workable plan for at home learning. Do so quickly, but not so quickly that in haste things are put in place which then need to be modified many times, leading to confusion.
c. Determine how to have our staff here to plan and be provided tools to allow them to organize learning which can take place at home that we strive to be understandable by parents and students, is appropriately challenging, but not overwhelming.

What do we know for moving forward:
1. We do NOT have any indication of whether schools will reopen or there will be extensions of
closures. We also do not have a timeline for when that would be decided by our Governor. I would
suggest checking not only our local media, but possibly South Dakota media outlets also.
2. We have a shared plan for providing learning activities and resources, for student meals and if needed
their delivery, and for some ‘routine’ to begin for our students.
3. School Superintendents are literally having multiple discussions daily to help our entire educational
system and share resources and ideas.
4. Our teaching staff has all been provided tools and locations to begin providing materials for at home
instruction. The easiest communication and sharing of resources is via electronic methods. We are
asking you to call your building and report if electronic methods do not work for your family and we
will try to provide a solution. At this time, we providing paper packets for those families as we
research providing devices and access through partnerships with internet providers.
5. No decisions have been made on any future activities or events at Dakota Valley except that while
school is closed, there are no activities of any kind. We will, like much of our state and nation, have
to wait on our elected officials and health officials to make decisions and provide guidance. What
will April and May look like for school attendance, activities, and events is a yet to be determined
question.
6. The South Dakota High School Activities Association has declared no activities through April 5.
7. The state has not made a determination as to if schools are to make up each missed day. All districts
are waiting on the state’s decision to determine what additional days might look like.
We miss our students greatly. We know this is stressful and I know our staff, and myself personally, wish
we had more answers for al the “what if” questions. I also know we have a great community, state and
nation – we will continue to pull together and problem solve! #WeAreDV


Sincerely,


Dr. Jerry Rasmussen
Superintendent of Schools


UPDATE March 17th:

Gov. Noem has closed schools for next week also, extending the closure through March 27.  Our team has been meeting to make tools available for our staff to create / share age appropriate learning opportunities and plan for those who do not have internet access.  We will have materials available by 3:00 Friday. 

Like virtually all schools in SD, DV is not an online instructional provider.  We wanted to be deliberate in our efforts to create learning opportunities.  Last Friday we were advised to keep schools open and were proceeding with that guidance.  Later we learned through the media that schools had been closed.  Our teachers continued with their lessons last Friday and it was not possible in a few hours to have quality, well planned materials available. 

We will strive to provide the best options we can for all of our students and will send out further communications.  At this time, it would be very helpful if you DO NOT have a way to have internet access OR if you DO NOT have a device other than a phone for your children to access online content, to please call the school building your child(ren) attend(s) and leave your name and contact information.  (If an older sibling has a school provided device, we would ask that as these are unusual times, please allow all children to access that device if there are not other devices in the home)

 


UPDATE March 16th:

Dear Parents, Students, and Community Members,

 

As of Monday March 16, 4:30 pm we have no new information concerning school closures in South Dakota.  Governor Noem held a press conference and when asked if the schools would be closed beyond this week, she replied that they will continue to evaluate circumstances over the next several days and as of this time, no decision has been made as to any additional school closing beyond this week.

 

The administrative team has been meeting all day to put in place supports for our teachers so they can develop plans to provide lessons for our students in the event the closures are extended beyond this week.  We know that the highest quality education takes place when our students are in class with teachers and replicating those experiences online is not an easy endeavor.  We are sure you can understand that part of our educational offerings are very difficult to replicate online.  Students in welding, for example, need hands on practice welding.  We are taking into consideration those learning experiences as well.

 

We understand that this continues to be a fluid situation and we appreciate that for all involved, not having specific timelines is challenging.

 


The Dakota Valley School District is aware of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) and it’s continuous spread nationally and internationally.  We can assure you that as a District, we are taking necessary steps to be as prepared as possible in the event that our community and school would be impacted.  We are in constant contact with the South Dakota Dept. of Health, the South Dakota Dept. of Education, and the South Dakota School Superintendents Association to continue to have the most current information as we stay on top of the COVID-19 disease.  As we receive information which is relevant to our school community, we will continue to keep our parents and public informed.

We would ask that for all types of sickness that students please stay home until they are fever free for 24 hours.

 

Visit the following links for more information:

 

Coronavirus - what you need to know

 

CDC Guidelines

 

Q & A: Coronavirus Disease-2019 and Children





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Dakota Valley School District 61-8 | 1150 Northshore Dr | North Sioux City, SD 57049
Phone: (605) 422-3800
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Fax: (605) 422-3807
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