Students at Central and Stevens high schools will continue with distance learning through Thanksgiving break due to COVID-19.
An email to staff at Stevens sent from the district Wednesday afternoon states that SHS has had new cases “on an almost daily basis” since moving to Level 3 two weeks ago, including 17 Stevens students and staff testing positive for COVID-19 since Saturday.
Rapid City Area Schools has yet to update its COVID-19 case data dashboard from Nov. 4, but the week-old data shows 30 staff and 104 students have an active case while nearly 1,000 are in quarantine following exposure.
Stevens has been closed for two weeks as of Wednesday following “continued new student and staff cases and quarantines.”
“For this reason, Rapid City Area Schools administrators and local health officials have decided the safest option is to leave SHS at Level 3 through Thanksgiving break,” district information officer Katy Urban said. “The team will reassess the week of Thanksgiving to determine whether students will return to campus after break.”
An email to families at Central sent from the district Wednesday afternoon points to “the continued influx of new COVID-19 cases” as a reason to remain in Level 3. Central has been closed for one week.
District staff were notified of positive COVID-19 cases with possible exposure to staff or students at Stevens and Central on both Monday and Tuesday this week, despite both schools being closed at Level 3. Four Central students were diagnosed on Thursday alone, a day after the district moved the school to Level 3.
Grandview Elementary School and South, Southwest and West middle schools also remain at Level 3, according to the district’s webpage.
The move follows Monday night’s school board meeting during which multiple teachers expressed concerns over the district’s COVID-19 precautions, including its cleanliness.
Timeline of level changes
Wilson Elementary was the first school in the district to close its doors for two weeks and move to Level 3, distance learning, by Oct. 8.
Seven students at Stevens had tested positive for COVID-19 in one day, Oct. 20, and the district said it was monitoring the situation closely in communication with health officials. The week prior, more than 130 student-athletes at the school were quarantining after COVID-19 exposure.
When Stevens initially announced its closure Oct. 28, Central announced four new cases shortly after in the following days. Ten more cases were announced in the following days, and Central moved to Level 3 one week after Stevens.
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