South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem called for a carefully planned reopening of in-person schools to address learning deficits and to help kids restore their social and mental well-being.
Governor Noem started with, “Today, I’d like to share with you all the information that I have on that subject and then also continue to have conversations with parents, teachers, and folks all across the state. In March, we announced our first positive COVID case in the state of South Dakota. That was more than four and a half months ago. A lot has changed, especially as it relates to what we know about the virus and how we deal with it as it spreads through the state and also the country. When we started, our worst case scenario was based on academic modeling.”
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Gov. Noem continued, “That means we were using research that we knew and modeling data to make decisions and we planned for 5000 people to be in the hospital on our peak day in June. But we did cut that in half and today we have less than 50 people in the hospital needing elevated levels of care to get through the virus that they are dealing with.”
She also discussed about the data we have now, “Today, we no longer have to rely on models. Today, we can turn to real-world data that we have right in front of us. And what do we know? We know that the vast, vast majority of people who contracted the virus, that their symptoms will be mild and we also know that the vast majority of them will recover. We know that those 65 and older are those that are in the vulnerable population, and especially if they have preexisting conditions that they need to take extra measures to protect their health. We know that children, although they’re not immune to the virus, typically don’t get a serious illness from the virus. They almost never transmit the disease to someone else.”
The Governor recognized the correlation between children and the virus, “The science is very clear on schools. Our schools should be open. Let’s walk through all of those facts together. Jana Pediatrics came out with some facts and their statement was, the data indicates that children are at far greater risk of critical illnesses from influenza than they are from COVID19. One of the world’s leading pediatric care centers, the Toronto Sick Kids, had this to say about kids going back to school. They said the evidence is mounting that children may be less susceptible to this virus and may be less likely to transmit that virus to others. They also said the risks of infection and transmission in children, which appear to be minimal, need to be balanced with the harms of school closure, which is impacting their physical and their mental health.”
Click below to watch her full statement!