Dear RCAS Families,

Rapid City Area Schools staff is weighing various scenarios for the 2020-21 school year. The potential options will allow learning to continue during the pandemic and encompass best to worst case scenarios that range from using minimal to moderate social distancing and a hybrid of traditional learning in the classroom with a distance learning option to online learning.

Four separate workgroups made up of school and district staff are charged with planning for the start of school. Additionally, school leaders plan to get additional parent and staff feedback. In the coming weeks, RCAS will send out a survey to learn more about parent preferences and concerns regarding their child’s education in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“These past few months have been tremendously difficult for everyone, especially our parents, students, and staff. While our strong preference is to have as normal a start as possible, we know the start of the school year will not look the same as it has in other years. We believe we have enough lead time to come up with a couple of options that will keep our students as safe and healthy as possible while allowing learning to continue,” said Superintendent Dr. Lori Simon.

“We on the Board of Education know that parents and educators alike want nothing more than to start school up this fall as normal, and the District is addressing this challenge head-on.  Dr. Simon and her team are working very hard to identify and mitigate all the various risk factors, but the amount of detail that must be taken into account is huge in a school district with 23 buildings, nearly 14,000 students, and 1,000 teachers.  At the same time the impact of the pandemic stays somewhat fluid week-by-week and accordingly our response to it remains reactionary in many ways.  As we try to factor in all the uncertainties, please understand that we must build a few contingencies into our plans for the fall.  We are calling on the public to be patient, and to have an appreciation for the magnitude of obstacles we must overcome.  Please watch your email for the RCAS survey, give it careful thought, and submit it by the deadline – we seriously need your feedback,” said Board of Education President Mike Roesler.

The survey seeking family input will be sent out in the next two weeks. RCAS looks forward to sharing the back to school plan in late July or early August.

Sincerely,

Katy Urban
Community Relations Manager