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Multiple South Dakota schools close due to rising COVID cases, other illnesses, weather

Schools across the state are grappling with pandemic-related staffing shortages and student absences. Some have closed temporarily or rescheduled sporting events, and some — including the Custer School District, Vermillion School District and the Tea Area School District — are bringing back mask mandates.

MultipleRapid City Area Schools closed today and moved to e-learning. North Middle School, South Middle School, Black Hawk Elementary, Canyon Lake Elementary, and Rapid Valley Elementary all shut their doors.

An email from Superintendent Dr. Lori Simon (who, incidentally, also announced her resignation effective at the end of the school year) said the closure is due to staffing shortages from COVID-19, the flu and other winter illnesses. The email says the district hopes to welcome students and staff back next week after the holiday weekend.

The Custer School District observesa four-day school week from Monday to Thursday. The district announced on its Facebook page it would not have in-person classes next Monday “due to rising COVID-19 cases.”

The South Dakota Department of Health reports that 26,385 people in the state are currently infected with COVID-19. That's an additional 1,500 cases since the previous day, and a new record for the state.

Some other schools called off classes today or cut them short due to winter weather blowing into the area.

Megan hosts All Things Considered and the SDPB News podcast.