SD Governor Closes Schools, Activities Cancelled

Gov. Kristi Noem addressed spiking East River COVID-19 cases and plans for the remainder of the school year in a press conference Monday afternoon.

Noem also extended a previous executive order that outlines guidelines for businesses and organizations in their handling of the COVID-19 pandemic through May 31. She says the language in the order also shifts from encouraging residents to follow the guidelines to telling them to take the actions seriously.

Monday morning numbers released by the South Dakota Department of Health show continued growth in number of COVID-19 cases in both Lincoln and Minnehaha Counties. Lincoln County reports a total of 24 positive tests while Minnehaha County reports 140, a combined jump of 37 positive tests in a day.

Noem says she is signing an executive order directing people over the age of 65 or people who have chronic medical conditions to stay home for the next three weeks. Noem says the types of medical conditions addressed in the order include chronic lung disease, asthma, serious heart conditions, diabetes, liver disease, kidney disease, illnesses requiring dialysis or people considered to be immunocompromised. Residents falling in those categories are told to limit travel to trips deemed critical.

In South Dakota, Noem says three of the four deaths attributed to COVID-19 fall in the categories addressed in the order.

The Governor continues to cite facts and science in decision making. She says there could be a need to extend or include other areas as the virus progresses but it was “appropriate today to address those two counties.”

As for the rest of the school year, Noem says “it doesn’t make sense to bring kids into the classroom the rest of the year.” The S.D. Department of Education is working to outline what remote learning will look like the remainder of the school year. Noem previously directed schools to stay closed through May 1.

Because of school being canceled for the rest of the year, the South Dakota High School Athletic Association announced that the remaining SDHSAA events that includes all spring activities and postponed winter events are cancelled.

The cancellation will be formalized at the April 21 Regular Meeting of the SDHSAA Board of Directors. High School activities will resume in the 2020-2021 school year.

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