Aberdeen schools planning for fall classes

ABERDEEN, S.D. (By Elisa Sand esand@aberdeennews.com) – While the complete changes to be made as safety measures against COVID-19 are still unknown, discussions are happening.

At Aberdeen Public, Superintendent Becky Guffin said a 70-member committee has been subdivided into three committees looking at instruction; facilities and logistics; and policy and governance.

Parents within the district received an update from the district last week about those discussions.

“Our goal is to return to a traditional model where students are in school face to face,” Guffin said.

Specifics about changes and what parents should know will be announced as the beginning of the school year nears, but at this point, Guffin said, the main goal is to update parents to let them know discussions are happening even though the district also has more questions than answers.

“We learn things every day,” Guffin said.

Guffin said part of the planning includes the installation of additional sanitation stations in the schools and health checks; although, she does admit temperature checks, especially at the high school where there are 1,500 students, may not be a feasible option.

“We are looking at every process and procedure,” Guffin said. “If we can modify them to be safe, we’ll do that.”

As an example, she said, they’ve talked about the keypad used by the elementary and middle school students to key in their lunch account for payment. That keypad is being eliminated at the elementary and middle schools and replaced with a card swipe system like the one used at the high school.

“That’s a safety thing we feel is important,” Guffin said.

At the high school, students are required to wear their IDs at all times. Those IDs also have a photo of the student. Guffin said the IDs will be simpler for the middle school and elementary school, but they won’t have photos and students won’t be required to wear them. But the district is also looking at other ways those IDs can be used, like checking out library books.

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