School is just around for some students, faculty, and staff throughout the Sioux Empire.  Due to the growing concerns of the global COVID-19 pandemic, this academic year could be known as the most challenging year yet.

Despite all the uncertainty in our world, one thing that we know in the state of South Dakota is that our children are going back to school in-person.  This comes after Governor Kristi Noem's firm stance on the importance of re-opening schools.

One of the most debated topics within each respected school district is whether or not to mandate masks in the classroom.  Governor Noem has afforded each school district in the state the freedom to determine its own masks policies.  Dakota News Now has up-to-date information on which school districts are requiring masks in classroom settings.

Keep in mind: There are school districts offering online schooling programs (A.K.A. distance learning) for students whose parents are uncomfortable about their children returning to the classroom as well as for students who possess underlying health conditions which could increase their risk of contracting COVID-19.

The following list is directly from our news partners at Dakota News Now.  It identifies the schools' mask policies as well as their start dates.

Schools that are requiring masks because of limited social distancing options:

Brookings (Aug. 21)

Huron (Aug. 24) *School officials say they plan to reevaluate the mask requirement in early September

Mitchell (Aug. 19)

Rapid City (Sept. 8)

Sioux Falls O’Gorman (Aug. 17) *Required for grades 3 and up, encouraged for younger students

Sioux Falls Christian (Aug. 19)

Yankton (Aug. 24)

Schools that are recommending masks but not requiring them:

Aberdeen (Aug. 18)

Brandon Valley (Aug. 19)

Harrisburg (Aug. 20)

Pierre (Aug. 20)

Sioux Falls School District (Aug. 27)

Watertown (Aug. 27)

Vermillion (Aug. 20)

Masks requirements throughout the Sioux Empire

Fargo (Sept. 2) Masks must be worn in all Fargo public school buildings

Worthington, Minn. (Sept. 8) Masks are required at ll Minnesota schools using in-person education

Omaha (Aug. 18) The Omaha School District will start the year with 100% remote learning model, through at least first quarter

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