School District Survey: 22% of Sioux Falls Parents Undecided on Sending Kids Back to School

Jul 27, 2020

Credit Sioux Falls School District

Most parents in the Sioux Falls School District are planning to send their students back to the classroom this fall, but a recent survey shows 22% still aren’t sure. The district plans to release more information later this week. 

More than 15,000 parents responded to the survey sent out last week. Of those, 71% say their students will definitely return to school and 6% will not.

The 22% of parents who still aren’t sure pointed to three things that would help them decide: more information on their school’s COVID-19 safety protocols, more information on the Sioux Falls School District’s Virtual Academy option, and the level of COVID-19 cases in the community come school time.

The Virtual Academy is an option for parents who want to keep their children in the school district but are concerned about returning to face-to-face classes. More information has been added to the district’s website. As for what in-person classes will look like, Superintendent Jane Stavem says there’s more information to come.

“The bulk of the really detailed plans, a parent handbook, a staff handbook will be released hopefully very soon this week. No later than Friday," she tells the Sioux Falls School Board. "We hope much earlier than that, but just as an indicator for all of you.”

Stavem says schools are finding innovative solutions to managing the space in their classrooms, and decisions are still being made on how to handle electives like band and other activities.

She says further guidance on masks is coming, too.

“Our expectation will be that adults and students will be wearing masks, and our updated guidance will talk about some specifics with that," Stavem says. 

The parent survey showed 51% in favor of requiring masks at school and 48% saying they should be strongly encouraged.

That differs from the district’s staff survey, which saw 63% in favor of a mask requirement. 36% of staff support making masks strongly encouraged.