Meade School Board changes COVID-19 practices

STURGIS, S.D. (KBHB) – With an uptick in the number of COVID-19 cases leading to a surge in the number of quarantines, the Meade 46-1 School Board Monday night approved some changes to the current COVID-19 practices.

After much debate, the board will follow the Department of Health’s recommendations for temporary exclusion from a school setting.

The district plans to continue to use social distancing, use of masks, tables and/or desk dividers, as well as the length of the close contact in determining whether an individual is considered a potential close contact.

Superintendent Don Kirkegaard says if the Department of Health suggests a quarantine should be issued, then any affected student would be required to stay home from school for the duration of the designated quarantine. The D.O.H. would determine who is considered a close contact.

Kirkegaard says contact tracing begins when parents and/or health officials notify them of a positive COVID-19 case in a school building.

If a student or staff member is presumed as a close contact remains in school, Kirkegaard says that student or staff member would have to be symptom free, wear a mask at all times when social distancing is not available and will be required to have their temperature checked twice a day for 14 days.

However, any student that has been identified as a close contact due to a person in their household that tests positive for COVID-19 will not be able to attend school for 14 days.

The board also approved a set of guidelines for students not considered a close contact and have shown symptoms.

The guidelines allow a student to return to school after being symptom free for 72 hours. They could also return if they have a negative COVID-19 test or medical doctor’s not indicating the symptoms were due to an illness that was not COVID-19.