A group of around 40 teachers gathered outside the Sioux Falls School Board meeting Monday  afternoon to oppose the district’s current back to school plan. They worry lack of clear physical distancing measures and no mask requirement will lead to a COVID-19 outbreak—and another emergency turn to virtual learning. 

Grace Gill is a Government teacher at Roosevelt High School. She tried arranging the desks in her classroom six feet apart.

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.

COVID-19 Update With Dr. Shankar Kurra

Jul 27, 2020

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

More than 8,400 South Dakotans have now tested positive for Sars Co-V2. Thousands (7404 to be exact) have also recovered. Since the first confirmed case in the state, doctors from the state's three major health care systems have been taking turns joining us on air for a weekly COVID-19 update. Today we welcome back Dr. Shankar Kurra with Monument Health.  Shankar Kurra, M.D. is Vice President of Medical Affairs at Monument Health 

Health reporting on SDPB is supported by Monument Health of Rapid City

SDPB News: July 24

Jul 24, 2020

The mayor of Rapid City is butting heads with the state Department of Health... Why? Plus, How will COVID-19 affect future state revenue this year? 

BOR Approves Mask Requirements for Fall Semester

Jul 22, 2020

The Board of Regents is implementing a policy for mask requirements on campuses this fall. The state’s six public universities will require masks in all public indoor spaces for at least the first month of the semester.

The protocol has four levels. Level one only requires masks in labs or other instructional settings that require close contact; level four requires masks both indoors and outdoors.

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.  


U.S. colleges and universities are debating whether to require masks for students and faculty this fall. South Dakota’s public universities encourage masks on campus, and four of the state’s five private institutions will require masks in most indoor settings.

Augustana University, the University of Sioux Falls, Dakota Wesleyan University and Presentation College will require masks on campus. They say CDC guidelines and scientific consensus say masks help prevent transmission of COVID 19.

President Trump is encouraging public schools to reopen in the fall after many closed during the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic. Last week on Twitter he threatened removing federal funding from districts that don’t resume face-to-face instruction. Monday, one of the president’s economic advisors told FOX Business he’d consider additional funding for districts that do reopen.

COVID-19 Update With Dr. Hoffman

Jul 13, 2020

In The Moment … July 13, 2020 Show 857 Hour 1

As COVID-19 cases surge nationwide, South Dakotans ask questions about whether or not Sars CovV-2 can be spread by asymptomatic people. How sure are we about the efficacy of wearing masks to slow the spread of the disease? The pandemic provides continued opportunity to search for clarity. Today we welcome back Dr. Wendell Hoffman. He's an infectious disease doctor with Sanford Health.

Health reporting on SDPB is supported by Monument Health of Rapid City

New data from the federal government reveal more information about the Paycheck Protection Program, including some of the loan recipients. 

And that information shows the program’s deep and wide reach in South Dakota. 


In The Moment ... July 7, 2020 Show 853 Hour 1

Rapid City Mayor Steve Allender checks in to provide an update on COVID-19 and how its affecting things in his city like the Civic Center, Rapid Transit, and the Emergency Care Shelter.

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A frontline healthcare provider from the Navajo Nation is concerned about the impact the weekend’s 4th of July events will have on South Dakota’s Native communities. The Great Plains Tribal Chairmen’s Health Board says Native Americans already make up half of Pennington County’s COVID-19 cases.

Dr. Karen Williams is an enrolled member of the Susanville Indian Rancheria of California. She’s a hospitalist physician at a facility within the Navajo Nation, which has been one of the hardest-hit areas in the country during the pandemic.

COVID-19 Update With Dr. Shankar Kurra

Jul 6, 2020

In The Moment … July 6, 2020 Show 852 Hour 1

For the past 15 weeks or so we have been immersed in a pandemic and each day that goes by we seem to learn something new about Covid-19. Nationally it looks like the numbers are on the rise and depending on who you ask, perhaps locally too. On Monday's we bring local medical professionals on to help us better understand what this is and what's changing. Today we welcome back Dr. Shankar Kurra, he is vice president of Medical Affairs at Monument Health.

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.

The South Dakota Department of Health will not encourage people who attend this weekend’s fireworks show at Mt. Rushmore to get a COVID-19 test afterward. Instead, health officials say people should to take measures on their own to prevent spreading the virus. 

Around 7,500 people have tickets to Friday’s fireworks display, which President Donald Trump plans to attend. Masks are not required, and Governor Kristi Noem says they will not enforce any social distancing measures.

Avera Public Relations

Avera eCARE is receiving more than $800,000 dollars in federal funding to enhance emergency telehealth services. The additional equipment will give rural hospitals much-needed support in caring for COVID-19 patients.

Dr. Brian Skow oversees emergency virtual care for more than 100 sites as the Medical Director for Avera eCARE. He says the federal money will support additional equipment in up to 60 hospitals throughout South Dakota and the Midwest.

Small Towns, Big Challenges

Jun 29, 2020

In The Moment … June 29, 2020 Show 848 Hour 1

Dr. Jason Knutsen Bring Us A COVID-19 Update

Jun 29, 2020

In The Moment … June 29, 2020 Show 848 Hour 1

South Dakota has recorded our first case of Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome in a child. Research scientists are learning more about the tentacles of Sars-CoV-2, and cities across the nation are grappling with opening up, surges in cases, and locking back down.  It's time for our weekly check-in on what we know about COVID-19 here in South Dakota. Joining us this week is Dr. Jason Knutson, a Family Medicine Physician with Avera. Health reporting on SDPB is supported by Monument Health of Rapid City 

Melissa Hamersma Sievers / SDPB

When state Sen. Jeff Partridge urged his fellow legislators to approve the creation of a small-business relief fund at the end of March, he made a prediction. 

He said the money would be needed by the kinds of businesses “that we might not even be thinking of yet.” 

SDPB News: June 26

Jun 26, 2020

Across South Dakota, life forms made of stone inhabit the high places. None of these petroforms are officially protected, though a few, are intentionally maintained by private landowners. Plus, a close look at the state's pandemic relief fund reveals a detail about SD's hospitality industry. Also, what is the new syndrome affecting children who have COVID-19? All this and more in today’s SDPB News Podcast. Find it on Apple Podcasts or 

South Dakota Department of Health

The first case of multisystem inflammatory syndrome is confirmed in a South Dakota COVID-19 patient. The syndrome appears to impact children with coronavirus.

State Department of Health officials say the case is in a child under the age of 18 in eastern South Dakota. They would not release the specific county of residence, citing confidentiality concerns.

State epidemiologist Josh Clayton says the inflammatory syndrome impacts multiple organ systems.  

Seth Tupper / SDPB

Small businesses in South Dakota may get an opportunity to apply for pandemic-relief grants. 

Gov. Kristi Noem said the money would come from the $1.25 billion in federal aid the state already received.  

Noem is busy finding ways to spend that federal money. This week, she’s on a tour of the state. The focus of her message is $200 million from that federal package that can reimburse local governments for pandemic expenses. 

COVID-19 Update With Dr. Hoffman

Jun 22, 2020

In The Moment … June 22, 2020 Show 843 Hour 1

Three months into this pandemic, our medical professionals are learning more and more every day. Each week, we have invited various doctors onto the show to fill us in on the latest. Today we welcome Dr. Wendell Hoffman back.

Health reporting on SDPB is supported by Monument Health of Rapid City

Masks Do Work & Other Lessons Learned

Jun 22, 2020

When a family member is diagnosed with COVID-19, what do you do? SDPBs Lura Roti finds out by visiting with a Sioux Falls mother who recently cared for her college-age daughter.

What do you do when your 20-year-old daughter calls crying to let you know she tested positive for COVID-19? If you’re Pam Cole, you pack up your home office and drive to Vermillion.

Nearly all long-term care residents and staff in South Dakota have been tested for COVID-19. Now, the Department of Health has released guidelines for reopening those facilities. 

The plan includes three phases with different levels of restrictions. The first phase now allows outdoor visits between residents and family if the facility has completed mass testing. All residents, staff and visitors must wear masks and be screened for COVID-19 symptoms.

News: Jun 13 - 19

Jun 19, 2020

In this weeks podcast we get a COVID-19 update, hear about the issues with having a newborn during the pandemic, and a couple Political Junkies breakdown the top headlines from the week.

Having a Baby During COVID is Mostly the Same…

Jun 18, 2020
The Bies family

What is it like to welcome a baby into the world during a pandemic? SDPB's Lura Roti visits with newborn Charlie Bies's parents, grandparents and doctor to find out.

Four-days old in this recording, Charlie Bies won’t understand until he’s much older, but he was born during an unprecedented time. And unlike the experience his big sister, Adelaide had when she was born nearly two years ago, many of those who love him, have not been able to cuddle him yet. 


City of Sturgis

Sturgis will hold a motorcycle rally in early August, but city leaders will make adjustments for COVID-19 and hope for smaller crowds. 

Dakota State University in Madison will offer students an expanded move-in window to limit the number of people in residence halls. That’s just once of the adjustments to prevent coronavirus transmission when students return to campus. 

Classes at Dakota State University and all other public universities will begin a little earlier than usual with the first day on Wednesday, August 19th.

Summer Travel During The Pandemic

Jun 16, 2020

In The Moment … June 16, 2020 Show 839 Hour 2

As with everything these days, it seems we have to find ways of doing things more safely. Traveling this summer is no exception and if you should choose to do so, there are steps you can take to make that journey safer. Dr. Leah Prestbo is an internal medicine physician with Avera and she joins us to discuss those steps.