March 24, 2020 COVID-19 Update

Dear Rapid City Area Schools Families, Staff, and Students,

The Rapid City Area Schools will remain closed through May 1st. This decision was made with the utmost care and aligns with guidelines and recommendations from Governor Noem’s office and other state and federal public health authorities.

During this closure, we will continue to educate students through the remote learning that has already begun. The South Dakota Department of Education has provided guidance to school districts for the continuation of instruction during closures as a means of maintaining continuity and to minimize or possibly eliminate the need to extend the school year. In order to meet the state requirements, instructional staff will prepare and deliver learning experiences for students as they work remotely.

  • Given this school closure, all activities through May 1st, including prom, are cancelled.

 

  • RCAS will provide computers to students who do not currently have a computer at home. Your child’s school will be sending information via school messenger in the near future about when and where to check out a computer.

  •   We are extremely grateful to Midco and Vast. Both companies will provide internet free of charge to students who currently do not have internet access.  Families will need to contact Midco directly for services at 1 (833)338-4638. To receive service from Vast, call (605)965-7357.

 

  • Please continue to communicate directly with your child’s school/teacher(s) regarding coursework. Teachers will share their availability and contact information and be reaching out throughout this closure. If you are having difficulty accessing help, please contact (605)394-4031 or email Community Relations Manager KatyUrban at Katy.urban@k12.sd.us

 

  • On March 23, all students who have registered to take AP Exams in May of 2020 received an important email update from the College Board Advanced Placement Program. Please review that email for the most comprehensive overview of program and exam administration changes. We will communicate more information as it becomes available.
  • We will continue to provide school meals (breakfast and lunch) to students.

 

  • No coursework will be due or assigned during the previously scheduled spring break, which is April 6-13.
  • It is possible that school may be closed beyond May 1st. We will continue to communicate any further closures, changes, or adjustments that pertain to school as this situation develops and in consultation with local, state, and federal leaders, and public health experts.
  • If you are not already receiving text alerts from your child’s school or the District, simply text “Y” or “YES” to 67587.
  • We will continue to post updates and pertinent information on our website, our Facebook page, and via email, text, and mass calling.

As I reflect about what has transpired in less than two weeks, I can’t help but think about the impact this change has on all of us. Schools are social and academic places driven by relationships between students and teachers—and many of the aspects that make the learning experience so special have been abruptly removed. This undoubtedly is causing a great deal of stress for everyone involved. I can tell you that our educators want very much to be in classrooms working directly with our students again.

We understand how challenging this situation is for everyone and we are doing our very best to meet the needs of all of our students and staff. To our teachers and parents who are feeling overwhelmed with this sudden change – we hear you. Teachers, I urge you to be flexible with student work, assignment deadlines, and the overall workload. If there is an out-of-the-box way to teach the standards and reach learning targets without requiring an abundance of work – please do it. Parent and students, if you are feeling overwhelmed – please communicate with your teachers. Again, our goal is to make sure that students are learning as much as possible without adding an undo amount of stress on staff and families.   

 

To our high school seniors, you are constantly on my mind. This was not how the end of your K-12 experience was supposed to go. You have worked hard for the past 13 years and deserve to enjoy all of the typical final high school experiences. I am so sad that this is your reality. Please continue to work hard over the next two months and earn your diploma and reach out to your teachers when you need help. We do not know what this situation will look like in a month or six weeks but will further evaluate whether a commencement ceremony is possible as the end of the school year gets closer.

Again, thank you to everyone for your flexibility and patience as we work through this rapidly changing situation. We are all in this together.

 

Please take care,

 

Dr. Lori Simon