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District says it won’t ask students to return to classes this semester
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District says it won’t ask students to return to classes this semester

Lori Simon

Lori Simon, superintendent for Rapid City Area Schools, responds to questions about school closures at a press conference earlier this school year.

Gov. Kristi Noem’s “Back to Normal” plan gives school districts the option to decide whether a limited return to school in small groups of students is right for them.

Rapid City Area Schools have chosen not to consider the limited return to in-person instruction to “check in” before the school year ends, as the plan suggests.

Superintendent Lori Simon said in the school district with more than 13,500 students facilitating a check in would be “no easy feat, requiring extensive time and planning.” RCAS will continue distance learning for the rest of the school year as planned.

The last day students will receive new content is May 15 and the last day they can turn in assignments is May 28. 

Students can collect and return items to their schools with the exception of laptop computers during the week of May 18-22. Since students still might need computers, laptop collection will happen during the week following Memorial Day, May 26-28.

RCAS asked in an email to students and families to watch for further communication from their schools regarding specific times and social distancing for that process.

Simon also said the district is working on contingency plans for next school year that includes distance learning and delaying the start of the school year if necessary.

“I know many of you are wondering what next school year will look like,” SImon said in the email. “The simple answer is no one knows right now. I will continue to share updates throughout the remainder of this school year and into the summer.”

For Black Hawk families displaced due to the sinkhole, RCAS has a district service, McKinney Vento, which assists students and families who are displaced from housing.

Students lacking a fixed, regular or adequate nighttime residence can qualify. Students living somewhere temporarily can contact anita.deranleau@k12.sd.us or 605-431-8414 for assistance.

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