Rapid City area schools move to all virtual instruction

RAPID CITY, S.D. (AP) — The Rapid City area school district is closing all schools and moving to virtual instruction because of the surge in coronavirus cases in South Dakota.

The school district sent an email to families Monday night saying distance learning for its 25 schools will begin Wednesday.

“Regardless of our learning model, we will continue to do our very best to meet the unique needs of each learner during this pandemic,” Superintendent Lori Simon said. “This is not what we hoped for, but we are committed to making the best of our current reality.”

Simon urged students to use caution during this time, including to wear masks in public, avoid crowds and stay six feet apart when possible.

“We want students and staff back in class,” Simon said. “It is going to take all of us following the guidance set forth by the CDC to make that happen.”

The district will provide take-home meals and have more information Tuesday, the email said. The COVID-19 team will also continue to meet through the Thanksgiving break and update families after Thanksgiving about whether the district will reopen schools, the Rapid City Journal reported.

The district’s latest data shows 94 students and 47 staff have an active case of COVID-19 while 105 staff and 676 students are in quarantine following exposure. The district has seen 501 total active and recovered cases.