It’s back to school time

Ron Burtz
More than five months after they were last in the classroom, students in the Custer School District will head back to school in one week. Wednesday, Aug. 26, is the date set for students to go back to the classroom, but teachers are already in the buildings for several days of in-service meetings and training. 
It was Friday, March 13, when district officials got word from Gov. Kristi Noem’s office that schools would be closed statewide for one week in an effort to stop the spread of the coronavirus in the state. That first week stretched into three and eventually the rest of the school year was canceled, forcing teachers, parents and students into two months of distance learning mostly via the internet. 
Once the school year officially ended, a team of teachers and administrators went to work on a back-to-school plan that includes ways to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 in the schools and to plan for the possibility of another school closure should the disease come back for another wave in the fall. (See the article on the latest revisions to the plan elsewhere in this edition of the Chronicle.)
There will be some new faces and reassignments of familiar staff members when the new school year starts. Tobey Cass, hired this summer to replace Jordan Likness as jr./sr. high activities director and assistant principal (AD/AP), will take over as principal following the resignation of Orion Thompson. Elementary physical education teacher Joey Kortemeyer will move into the AD/AP position. 
Meanwhile, Kelli Moore will move into the jr./sr. high administrative assistant position vacated by the retiring Jan Wilson and Patty Evans will fill Moore’s former chair as the office paraprofessional. 
There are 23 new staff members at the district’s three schools and five existing staff have been reassigned. 
With school starting up within the week, parents have just one more day to enroll new students in the Custer School District. The last day to enroll new students at Custer Elementary, jr./sr. high and Hermosa School will be Thursday, Aug. 13, between 8 and 4 p.m. 
Computer checkouts for students in grades 7-12 grade only will be between 7 a.m. and 4 p.m. Wednes-day and Thursday at the high school and student schedules may be picked up during those times as well. Class changes are being conducted at the same time. 
Prior to a laptop being issued, parents must submit completed paperwork and a nonrefundable payment of no more than $50 per family. Legal guardians must be present to sign paperwork. Prices for computer coverage do not include lost chargers or battery replacement. 
Open houses and parent meetings are planned for Custer Elementary and Hermosa School from 4-7 p.m. Monday and Tuesday at the schools. Students with last names between A and L are asked to attend Monday and M through Z will meet Tuesday evening. 
The Custer junior kindergarten and kindergarten meeting will be held both nights at 6:30 p.m. in the elementary gym.
A meeting for new students in grades 7-12 and the jr./sr. high open house is set for Monday from 4-7 p.m. 
The Custer preschool/ developmental screening is set for Sept. 1 and parents are asked to call 673-2171 to set up an appointment. The Hermosa preschool/ developmental screening will be held Sept. 2. Parents may call 255-4345 for an appointment. 
The school day will begin at 7:45 a.m. at Hermosa and run through 3:30 p.m. At Custer Elementary, the school day runs from 7:50 a.m. to 3:35 p.m. The schedule at the jr./sr. high is from 7:50 a.m. to 3:46 p.m. The school week at all schools is Monday through Thursday.  

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