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Parents voice concern for RCAS changing levels

Less than two weeks ago RCAS switched all its students to online learning due to staff shortages. A week and a half later, everyone is back in school.
Published: Nov. 30, 2020 at 6:29 PM CST
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RAPID CITY, S.D. (KOTA) - Rapid City Area Schools moved back to level one Monday, returning all 23 schools to in-person learning.

Less than two weeks ago RCAS switched all its students to online learning due to staff shortages. A week and a half later, everyone is back in school.

“We have 44 staff that have COVID right now and about 82 of them who are out in quarantine. Before the break, we had about 180 staff members that were in quarantine,” said Katy Urban, the RCAS community relations manager. ”So we had a number of staff that were coming back today which allowed us to adequately staff our buildings.”

A group of parents is frustrated with switching levels, saying they chose to keep their kids in person rather than do online learning.

“The group of parents that I am with have a concern with the flipflopping of the levels,” said Jackie Jessop Rising, a concerned parent. “At the beginning of the school year, parents and students were given an option. We all chose for our students along with our students to attend school.”

Urban said the community seems to be split.

“In many ways, it’s a loose loose situation and I don’t know that there is a right answer,” said Urban. ”There are people that are very unhappy when we go to level three and there are people that are very unhappy when we go to level one. It’s really just a matter of perspective and I feel like it is very very split in our community. We’re just simply trying to do our bet to take into account the social, emotional, academic needs of our students and while also trying to keep our students and our staff safe.”

Jessop Rising said she and the other concerned parents still don’t understand the schools’ COVID approach, using the example of Sioux Falls, a bigger city, keeping their kids in school more than RCAS.

“We have no doubt that they care about our students and the staff, we truly believe that but we believe that they are missing the mark,” said Jessop Rising. “The kids are not getting COVID in school. It’s within the community.”

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