With a new school year fast approaching in South Dakota, the usual feelings of excitement, anticipation and opportunity have been replaced with angst, anxiety and worry.
The COVID-19 pandemic has cast a pall of uncertainty over whether students, teachers and staff can safely return to schools for in-person teaching and learning. As of mid-July in South Dakota, the vast majority of public schools appeared poised to open in late August and bring children back to the classroom, though many are offering a remote, home-based option.
Districts big and small are undergoing extensive planning to reopen as safely as possible at a time when a fierce national debate is raging about whether to bring children back, whether the coronavirus will spread among adults and children, and whether masks should be worn.
To better understand what people at all levels of the public education system are enduring, News Watch in early July contacted several South Dakotans on the front lines of the fall 2020 return to school. To read their stories, click here.