District has no active cases of COVID-19

Gray Hughes

Per the Hill City School District’s COVID-19 dashboard, the district has no active cases of the virus.

Since the start of the second half of the year after the Christmas break, the district has reported just one case of the virus.

“We are happy to announce we have zero reported positive cases on campus as of (Feb. 11),” wrote Blake Gardner, superintendent of the district, in an email.

In addition to zero active cases as of this writing, zero people within the district — characterized as elementary school students, middle school students, high school students and staff — are characterized as close contacts. Per the district’s definitions, a close contact is someone who has been within six feet of someone with the virus for at least 15 minutes. The district requires a close contact to quarantine for 72 hours or seven to 10 days if the student lives in a house with a COVID-19 positive individual.

“Students are encouraged to stay home for longer if they are even minimally ill and monitor symptoms for 10 days,” the district’s policy reads.

In total, seven elementary school students, two middle school students, 14 high school students and 10 staff members (for a total of 33 individuals) have completed a 10-day isolation period.

The Hill City High School Student Council is having its annual dessert silent auction. The auction will be held on Feb. 18 during the basketball games in the Gins’ Gym lobby. Bidding starts at 5 p.m. and ends in the first quarter of the boys varsity game. All proceeds go to benefit the Children’s Miracle Network.

Donations of baked goods are needed. If you would like to donate, drop baked goods off at the high school office during the day of or at the gym between 3 p.m. and 4:30 p.m.

For more information, please contact Susan Roth at susan.m.roth@k12.sd.us or call 605-574-3000.

There will be a literacy walk in place of the Dr. Seuss Carnival on Feb. 26. After school, families will meet on the green to begin the walk. There are clues at businesses which will lead them to the next clue.

Families may get a free pizza coupon from the Hill City Café. The district imagines the students will be done by 4 p.m.

The book fair will be held Feb. 24-26 after school.

The district has scored within the top five within the state for ACT scores (out of 149 school districts that allows for students to participate in the ACT assessment) for a fifth straight year.

Hill City had a composite score of 23.82, which was good enough for third overall in the state — behind Arlington and Chester and just ahead of Timber Lake and Brookings. The state average was 21.82.

“I have known for many years that we are one of the top schools in South Dakota, but it is great when the data supports my belief,” Gardner wrote in his superintendent’s newsletter. “This is our fifth straight year in the top five, and the class of 2018 was ranked number one overall with an average score of 25.1.”

Parent-teacher conferences will be held March 15. All are invited. PIPTO typically feeds the district’s faculty before the conference, and the group is asking for any parents to volunteer to help with out with a snack, meal or side. Please email Darla at HillCityPIPTO@K12.sd.us to volunteer.

The 12th annual Hill City Science Fair will be virtual this year.

“We hope to have another wonderful turnout this year, and the science fair has become a very big event in Hill City,” Gardner wrote.

Forms must be completed and returned by Feb. 24 at 3 p.m. Turn in to your teacher or school’s secretary.

Late entries will not be accepted as videos will need to be uploaded by March 1.

Graduation will once again be held at Mount Rushmore National Memorial.

“I know we are a few months from graduation, but it will be here before we know it,” Gardner wrote. “We are pleased to announce that the Hill City School District has obtained a special use permit form Mount Rushmore. Once again, graduation will take place at the monument on May 16.”

The eighth grade is participating in a drug prevention and healthy choices program twice a week for the next few weeks. Mike Long from Youth and Family Services is facilitating the courses.

Gardner said in his newsletter that the district believes these assemblies help people become proactive and encourage the kids to make great choices.

To conclude, Gardner said the district has great things happening, and it is a blessing to serve as the district’s superintendent.

“Thank you to our intelligent kids, awesome teachers and supportive parents for working together for one common goal: the best education for our kids,” Gardner wrote.

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