The Milbank School Board of Education met for its regular meeting Monday, October 12. Covid-19 was the main topic of their discussions.
Twenty-three students or staff members have tested positive for Covid-19 and 219 have been quarantined since the start of the school year. Superintendent Justin Downes said the majority of the cases are coming from exposure at home and not at school.
Downes said the district will no longer be using the emergency message system to report when a student or staff member has tested positive for Covid. “We received many comments that the calls were not needed every
time and some said they are declining the calls.”
Downes went on to say, “We need to keep that system for true emergencies such as winter weather. According to Downes, the school will continue to contact trace and those calls will be made individually.
During the community input session of the meeting, Natalie Gauer and Dr. Nanci Van Peursem of Milbank Area Hospital Avera addressed the board. Gauer said, “Right now, we are at a crucial point of volume. We need to keep things where they are at.”
Van Peursem said the hospital and clinic are seeing a lot of Covid-19 patients. She added that hospitals in Sioux Falls, Aberdeen, and Fargo are full. “We hope this is our big surge. If it is, this could last two to four more weeks. It’s hard to say. We are taking care of patients here in Milbank that we normally would send to other locations, so it’s taking a toll on all of our staff right now.”
Van Peursem says, “We want our children in school. We want them participating in their events.” She also said she recommends continuing the Maroon and Gold system for alternating school attendance in-person and limiting attendance at athletic events to parents only and encourage all staff and students to wear masks.”.