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State education group questions idea of schools starting like ‘normal’ during COVID-19
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State education group questions idea of schools starting like ‘normal’ during COVID-19


Mary McCorkle, president of the South Dakota Education Association, said standardized test scores are only one measure of student achievement and should not be looked upon as the most important measure of learning.

The South Dakota Education Association said in a recent statement that “schools cannot start like ‘normal’” this year.

“Those who advocate such a message put the health and safety of students, educators and their loved ones at risk,” said SDEA President Mary McCorkle in response to the Trump administration’s threat to cut funding for schools that fail to fully open in the fall.

The SDEA represents more than 5,000 elementary and secondary teachers, higher education faculty, education support professionals, retired educators and students preparing to become teachers.

“South Dakota educators want nothing more than for students to return to school in the fall,” McCorkle said. “We all want schools to open, but they must open safely.”

McCorkle said there are “many unknowns” about what starting school in the fall could look like, including questions about social distancing, requirements for masks for staff and students, access to testing and PPE, and what to do if there is an outbreak.

McCorkle also raised questions about what parents can do if they don’t feel comfortable sending their children to school.

“We must have answers to these questions as part of any back-to-school plan,” she said, noting educators need to know that they and their families, their students, and the community at-large will all be safe before they consider entering school buildings this fall.

Read the full statement from SDEA here:

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