Back To School

Back-to-School 2020 Podcast

Sep 2, 2020

In The Moment … September 2, 2020 Show 894 Hour 1

We've spent the last few months trying to understand the issues surrounding "back-to-school" in 2020. In the most recent "In the Moment Podcast," you'll hear the perspectives of South Dakota healthcare professionals, parents, educators, and more.  Today, we take a listen to a summarized version of that podcast. 


Support for education reporting on SDPB is provided by the South Dakota Department of Education

Rapid City Area Schools Plans For More Student Engagement

Aug 27, 2020

Rapid City Area School Board recently voted to approve its “Together Again, Back to  School Plan“ for the physical return of students and teachers for this upcoming school year.

The back to school plan is a fluid and procedural guide to how the district will operate during the pandemic. One problem the district discovered during the closure last spring was how to best stay in touch with students.

Rapid City Areas Schools lost contact with 30 percent of its students when the pandemic hit last spring.

School year 2020 is far from typical. And it’s even more unique for the nearly 3,000 Sioux Falls’ students opting to learn from home through the district’s Virtual Academy curriculum. SDPB’s Lura Roti talks with parents and administrators to learn more.

When the pandemic closed schools spring 2020, South Dakota parents of school-age children quickly became familiar with remote schooling. But the Virtual Academy option the Sioux Falls School District offers families who don’t feel safe returning to the traditional classroom this fall is different, explains Kirk Zeeck. 

"Back to School 2020" in South Dakota

Aug 27, 2020

Many say that the safe and effective reopening of schools in South Dakota is critical, even during the COVID-19 pandemic. 


We've has spent the last month trying to understand what back to school in 2020 means. You'll hear from healthcare professionals, parents, educators and more in this In the Moment podcast.


Kealey Bultena / SDPB

School districts around the state are responding to COVID-19 cases among staff and students. 

Huron Superintendent Terry Nebelsick says a couple students tested positive for COVID before the school year began. Because Huron was an early hot spot, he says information moves quickly from the city’s testing center to the school administration.   

Back To School 2020: SD Superintendents

Aug 26, 2020

In The Moment … August 26, 2020 Show 889 Hour 1

As South Dakota school districts across the state report positive COVID-19 cases, we check in with superintendents about Back to School 2020. We'll talk with superintendents from Lemmon and Beresford in a moment. But first, Terry Nebelsick. He is the superintendent of the Huron School District.

Now we head to northwest South Dakota and check in with the Lemmon School District superintendent Steve Bucks.

We now head to the Beresford School District and its superintendent Brian Field is with us.


Kealey Bultena / SDPB


South Dakota parents need to decide whether to send their kids back to the classroom this fall.

Many schools are starting up in the next few weeks after shutting down in April.

Some district officials say their back-to-school plans rely on a number of families choosing remote learning for their kids.

Valeriah Big Eagle isn’t sure what to do. She has three school-aged children; pre-school, elementary, and middle school.

Jackie Hendry

Note: A previous version of this story incorrectly referred to the Meade School District as the Meade County School District. The story has been corrected.

The average school day will be different this year because of the coronavirus, but just how different depends on the district.

Some schools are installing plastic barriers and one-way signs in hallways. Some teachers say they’ll dedicate time to review material from last year that students may have missed.

Back To School 2020: As A Parent, As A Teacher

Aug 18, 2020

In The Moment … August 18, 2020 Show 883 Hour 1

Teachers, parents and students alike have questions and concerns going into the new school year. What are children talking about with the new school year just days in the offing? Lorne Lawrence is a teacher in the Rapid City school district. He's also the father of two children who attend school in the Sturgis school district. Kaydee Roth teaches in the Sturgis school district. She'll have a class of second graders this year.

Rapid City Area Schools

As districts around the state prepare for a return to the classroom – whether it’s in person, hybrid or virtual – schools have new money to spend.  

South Dakota schools have access to more than $40 million in coronavirus relief money, and few strings are attached. 

TenHaken Urges Community Effort to Keep Schools Open

Aug 17, 2020
Adria Botella

Sioux Falls Schools are welcoming students back to the classroom this week. Mayor Paul TenHaken says he has no hesitation about sending his three children back to school.

TenHaken encourages community support for teachers and school administrators as they work to execute their plans for a safe return. He urges patience and flexibility among parents.

Back to School? Parents Weigh Options and Risks

Aug 17, 2020
Kealey Bultena / SDPB

School administrators and parents are facing complicated decisions this fall. Governor Kristi Noem encourages parents to send children back to school, but how to limit transmission of COVID-19 is up to each district. 

Over the past month, superintendents have begun releasing their back-to-school plans. They’re as prepared as possible, and say most parents will send their children back to the classroom. But not everyone is willing to take that risk.



In The Moment … August 11, 2020 Show 878 Hour 1

As students head back to the classroom in a few weeks, a portion of them may be dealing with anxiety issues. Naturally, this imbalance could lead to other disruptions whether it be in the classroom or at home. Today we speak with professionals and ask their guidance in best dealing with this. Cherise LeRew is a licensed psychologist with Black Hills Psychology, and Sarah Konrady is also a licensed psychologist with Sanford.

Aug 1 - 7: School Nurses & More Candidates

Aug 7, 2020

The Coronavirus pandemic has left Native American reservations with a shortage of supplies, and Schools are moving forward with returning students to the classroom. Plus, we meet some more 2020 candidates.

SDPB News: Aug 4

Aug 4, 2020

How does the state Department of Education plan to use $6.9 million in federal grant money to support students during the pandemic? Plus, how are state associations responding to Governor Kristi Noem's opposition to mandatory masking?

All this and more in today’s SDPB News Podcast. Find it on Apple Podcasts or Spotify today.

What Does A "COVID Safe" Classroom Look Like?

Aug 3, 2020

In The Moment … August 3, 2020 Show 872 Hour 1

Today we welcome Sanford Health's Dr. Wendell Hoffman back to the program. We're going to talk about the emerging research about kids and teenagers and Sars-CoV-2 transmission. What does a safer classroom look like? In the absence of a statewide mandate for school openings and classroom mitigation efforts, how can parents and teachers evaluate the science we currently have so they can make smart decisions about how to live out personal responsibility during the pandemic? 

SDPB News: July 31

Jul 31, 2020

Why is the state medical association drafting the opposition towards legalizing both recreational and medical marijuana? Plus, how will the state's largest school district plan on safely getting kids back in the classrooms?

Jul 25 - 31: Back To School & Meet More Candidates

Jul 31, 2020

In this week's In the Moment Podcast, we take a look at what "back to school" will look like in 2020, and meet more of the candidates looking for your vote.

Find it on Apple Podcasts or Spotify today.

Sioux Falls School District

The Sioux Falls School District has released details for what it’s calling the Return to Learn plan. The 123-page working document has been boiled down to a 20-page handbook for parents ahead of the coming school year.

The parent handbook includes the expectation that students wear face masks on school property, except in gym class. It also has a check list of COVID-19 symptoms. Parents are to run through the checklist with their child every day before school and keep the child home if even one symptom is present.

Political Junkies: Back To School

Jul 29, 2020

In The Moment … July 29, 2020 Show 869 Hour 1


In The Moment … July 28, 2020 Show 868 Hour 1

During Spring Break, 2020, South Dakota colleges and universities made the urgent pivot to remote learning to prepare for a pending pandemic. How important is it for students to get back into the classroom this fall instead of learning remotely? Brian Maher is the executive director of the South Dakota Board of Regents and he joins us today with that big-picture conversation.

Support for education reporting on SDPB is provided by the South Dakota Department of Education

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.

In The Moment … July 27, 2020 Show 867 Hour 2

This is typically an exciting time for families planning the return to school. The stores might be stocked with school supplies; kids and parents choose everything from activities to what to wear on the first day. This year, they might be choosing whether to go into the building at all. This week we begin our look at Back to School 2020. Lori Simon is superintendent of the Rapid City Area Schools. 

Support for education reporting on SDPB is provided by the South Dakota Department of Education

As BOR Prepares for Fall, Faculty Express Concern

Jul 22, 2020

Faculty and students from five of the state’s six public universities have signed a letter urging the Board of Regents to reconsider its commitment to face-to-face teaching this fall. The BOR is meeting this afternoon to discuss the fall semester.

The letter asks that no one be required to attend class in person or be required to disclose medical information in order to teach or attend class online.  

Challenges Of Re-Opening South Dakota's Schools

Jul 21, 2020

In The Moment … July 21, 2020 Show 863 Hour 1

The last school year ended with students and teachers doing everything virtually. Next month, it appears that schools in South Dakota will re-open, which is what everyone wants, right? With that opening will come challenges. What are they and what to parents and teachers need to know? Dana Livermont is an executive committee member of the South Dakota Education Association. She joins us with more.

Support for education reporting on SDPB is provided by the South Dakota Department of Education

Dakota Political Junkies

Jul 15, 2020

In The Moment … July 15, 2020 Show 859 Hour 1

It's that time of the week where we welcome the Dakota Political Junkies. Let's welcome Jonathan Ellis, investigative reporter and columnist for the Sioux Falls Argus Leader, and, in Aberdeen, Northern State University professor of Political Science Jon Schaff. 


SDSM&T: Risk Management As Students Plan To Return

Jul 2, 2020

In The Moment … July 2, 2020 Show 851 Hour 2

South Dakota colleges and universities were forced to pivot quickly when COVID-19 cases were first confirmed in the state. As students plan for a return to campus, we check in with school leaders for a look at how organizational changes are helping mitigate the risk of the pandemic and keep students, faculty, and staff safe.

Jerilyn Roberts is associate vice president for Facilities, Risk, and Services at South Dakota School of Mines & Technology.

Jackie Hendry

Many public and private schools start their fall semester this week. In Sioux Falls, a growing population means an increase in traffic when school is in session. The Sioux Falls school district is partnering with AAA and local law enforcement for the School’s Open, Drive Carefully campaign. 

Superintendent Brian Maher says Sioux Falls schools now have nearly 24,000 students and 3,400 employees. With that many people traveling around the same time each day, he says traffic is bound to be slower.

Back To School

Aug 22, 2014

Kent Osborne and "The Computer Guys" present a "Back to School" episode on this week's Tech Radio.  Which tech-related items do students want or need for the upcoming school year?  They also discussed the Windows 8.1 update and pending announcements from Apple among other topics.

With the new school year approaching parents can help get kids started off right by making good attendance a priority.  School officials say regular attendance at school keeps students up-to-speed on classwork and headed for a bright academic future. 

School officials stress the importance of regular attendance in school – especially for kids in elementary. They say it is critical to the child’s academic success.