Dear Rapid City Area Schools Staff and Families,
The past several days, I, along with a number of key RCAS staff have spent an incredible amount of time discussing, planning and conferring with health experts about what we need to do to slow the spread of COVID-19. We are in an extremely unique time in our history with this global pandemic and must continue to make many tough decisions in the days and weeks to come. As this situation evolves, we will adjust our plans and day-to-day operations as necessary.
Under advisement from the State and in consultation with Monument Health, the State Department of Health, and CDC guidance and out of great care and concern for our students, staff and the greater community health and safety, we have made the following decisions:
- Beginning Monday school will be closed for a period of at least one week. We will take direction from state officials on whether more time is needed late next week. All staff report on Monday and Tuesday to develop plans for the continuation of student learning should long-term learning be necessary.
- We have been planning for a long-term closure. Should the closure be extended, RCAS will communicate further regarding plans for the continuation of learning.
- At this time, we do not know whether the State will require districts to make up the time.
- All staff will continue to be paid.
- Food service will not provide meals next week; however, if the closure extends beyond one week, our food services staff will provide bagged lunches for pickup at a number of sites in our District. We will provide more information next week about locations for food pick-up should the District decide to extend the closure.
Following next week’s school closure – the District plans to suspend the following activities until the week of April 13th, at which time District administrators will decide whether these closures and limitations need to be extended or revoked.
Here’s what you need to know:
- As announced yesterday, this weekend’s Festival of Bands concert and next weekend’s Strings in Concert are canceled and will not be rescheduled
- All travel for school-sponsored activities is suspended
- Athletic activities and fine arts performances/concerts in our buildings are suspended.
- Field trips are suspended indefinitely
- Community access to our buildings (volunteers, non-district personnel) is suspended
- Non-essential meetings involving the community are suspended
- Face to face Parent/Teacher conferences are cancelled in lieu of electronic communication and phone calls
- Kindergarten screening is suspended until further notice
- Parents will have restricted building access with the exception of normal pick-up/drop-off routines until further notice
- All outside use of our facilities is suspended. At this time, the decision does not include facility use for school activities and before and after school childcare programs.
- District travel for (RCAS) employees is suspended
- The District does not directly sponsor or oversee the various trips planned for student clubs and organizations; nonetheless, the District strongly discourages any international travel for students in the next three months
Again, we will work with state and local officials to determine whether schools will be closed beyond next week. The week of April 13th, we will re-evaluate and decide whether the activities closures and limitations need to be extended or revoked. In the meantime, please heed the advice of health officials and avoid events with large groups of people and stay home.
We know these are uncertain times and that there are likely many questions and concerns. Please know that this continues to be a rapidly changing situation, and new information is coming out continuously. We appreciate your understanding as we diligently work to address these concerns and do what we can to slow the spread of COVID-19.
Dr. Lori Simon