Classes at Yankton’s Sacred Heart Schools have been canceled next Monday and Tuesday due to a rise in COVID-19 infections.
In an email sent out Friday to school parents and obtained by the Press & Dakotan, Principal Laura Haberman said the cases involve “both students and staff.”
She said, “In light of our current circumstances and out of our desire to ensure we provide the best possible educational experience, we have decided to cancel classes next week on Monday, November 22 (full day) and Tuesday, November 23 (half day).” She added that the cancellation of classes was being done to allow families and staff time to recover from their illnesses, to let families monitor symptoms prior to the week following the Thanksgiving break and to give custodial staff sufficient time to clean the school buildings.
Haberman also encouraged families to have students wear masks when they return to school following the Thanksgiving break.
“When face masks are worn, they not only protect you, but protect others,” she wrote. “We encourage families to consider sending their child(ren) with face masks following the Thanksgiving Holiday and during the high infection rate time of year.”
Next week’s canceled days will not be made up later in the school year, Haberman noted.
“We will continue to monitor our current strategies and adjust accordingly,” she said. “Thank you for your understanding! We pray for the health of your family, our school community and the community around us.”
School officials could not be reached for further comment.
Meanwhile, the Yankton School District reported 31 active cases as of late Friday, the largest number so far this semester. Eleven cases were reported last week. Friday’s numbers broke out as follows: Yankton High School, 5; Yankton Middle School, 7; Beadle School, 8; Lincoln School, 4; Stewart School, 2; and Webster School 5.
Statewide, COVID-19 booster shots in South Dakota surged past the 100,000 mark Friday, according to the daily update from the Department of Health (DOH).
Third shots of both the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines, plus the Johnson & Johnson booster shots, rose to 118,094, an increase of almost 19,000 from Thursday, the DOH online portal reported.
There were 418 new infections reported Friday along with two new COVID-related deaths, raising the state toll to 2,305. None of the new deaths were reported in the Yankton area.
Active cases continued to climb, rising to 6,820 (+45), the highest level since Oct. 5.
Current hospitalizations fell to 234 (-12). Nineteen new hospitalizations were reported.
Locally, Yankton County recorded just three new positive tests Friday, snapping a streak of 10 straight reporting days of reaching double digits in new cases. There were 20 recoveries posted, lowering the number of active cases to 170.
Charles Mix County reported 12 new cases, the fourth time in five days the county has seen at least 10 new infections.
Union County also reported 12 new infections Friday.
Case reports from other area South Dakota counties included: Bon Homme County, +4; Clay County, +7; Douglas County, 0; Hutchinson County, +5; and Turner County, 0.
New hospitalizations were posted for Bon Homme (+1), Charles Mix (+1), Clay (+1) and Hutchinson (+2) counties.
The University of South Dakota online portal Friday reported six active cases (5 students, 1 staff), down two from Thursday. Seven people were reported in quarantine/isolation (-3), none of whom were on campus.
Friday afternoon, Mount Marty University reported one active case (a student), which was unchanged from the last report on Wednesday.
The following is the number of active cases in area South Dakota counties as of Friday, with the change from Friday, Nov. 12, in parentheses: Bon Homme County, 54 (+18); Charles Mix County, 131 (+57); Clay County, 61 (0 change); Douglas County, 18 (+5); Hutchinson County, 71 (+14); Turner County, 49 (+1); Union County, 96 (-7); and Yankton County, 170 (-20).