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Meade school board votes for students to return to class on Sept. 8
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Meade school board votes for students to return to class on Sept. 8

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Meade 46-1 School Board Meeting

Meade School District interim superintendent Don Kirkegaard discusses the back-to-school plan with the school board Monday evening. During the meeting, the board approved a revised school year calendar that puts students and teachers in the classroom starting on Sept. 8.

Meade 46-1 students will start the new school year Sept. 8 and the district is planning to begin with in-person learning.

The school board approved the revised calendar during its Monday meeting and discussed a three-phrase proposal that would guide in-person, combined and distanced learning throughout the year.

According to the plan, each phase, separated by number and color, will be used depending on the level of COVID-19 risk. As each level progresses, the learning style changes and students and employees would be encouraged and perhaps later required to wear a mask.

"The only thing I can tell you for sure is (the plan is) going to change," interim Superintendent Don Kirkegaard said at the board meeting.

Phase I, the green phase, is classified as low to moderate risk of spreading COVID-19. It calls for normal face-to-face instruction and would ideally mean a limited confirmed number of cases in school with declining and/or flat confirmed cases in the city, county and surrounding areas.

Kirkegaard said masks are not currently required for students or staff, but it could change throughout the year depending on the risk of spreading the virus.

Phase II, the orange phase, would mean there’s an elevated risk for spread of COVID-19. Students and teachers would enter a blended learning schedule in order to limit student contact. It would also be classified in this phase if there are multiple school confirmed cases and a significant spike of cases in city, county and surrounding areas.

Kirkegaard said in this phase, they would try to minimize the number of people in the building, although all the details haven’t been figured out quite yet.

Phase III, the red phase, would mean there’s a high risk for COVID-19 spread and distance learning for students.

“If we’re going to suspend activities, we want to have a rubric in place,” Kirkegaard said. “There are other things that are going to change.”

He said it’s possible the red phase could be for a single building, but not necessarily for the whole district.

Other portions of the plan include bus drivers sanitizing their buses before and after each route, lunch supervisors/monitors sanitizing tables between groups with foggers, sanitizing technology equipment in between classes, scheduled kindergarten through 5th grade handwashing three times a day and more. 

It also notes district employees who work at the 80th annual Sturgis motorcycle rally will be provided with COVID-19 tests from the city of Sturgis.

The board also discussed the 2020-2021 calendar. According to the revision, there would be 167 days of school with open houses to be determined.

The first day of school would be Sept. 8, instead of the original start date of Aug. 31, following Labor Day weekend. Holidays include Native American Day Oct. 12, Thanksgiving Nov. 25-27, Christmas vacation Dec. 21 - Jan. 1, 2021, President’s Day Feb. 15, Spring Break March 19 and Easter break April 2 and 5.

Graduation is slated for 2 p.m. May 23 and the last day of school would be May 27.

The board also approved a $1,064,748 contract with Harlow’s for bus operation.

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