PIERRE, SD – Republican South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem said students in her state will “definitely” be in the classroom this fall amid a national debate over reopening schools during the coronavirus pandemic. On Wednesday, Noem made the statement while speaking on “Fox & Friends,” adding that South Dakota children will not be required to wear masks in the classroom because it is not practical and could even lead to infections spreading more frequently.
“Well, the science is clear. Our kids need to be in school. It’s better for them; we’ve got a lot of kids that haven’t checked in since this virus hit. It’s really our most vulnerable population that needs to be back in those classrooms,” Noem said.
Fox News Host Ainsley Earhardt asked, “Many of us are trying to plan the rest of our lives and we are all just on hold right now, waiting to see where we’re supposed to be, if we should move, if we should stay, if our kids are going back to school. When will governors make decisions? I’m sure – each governor’s going to have their own timeline, but when are you going to say a definite?”
Governor Kristi Noem said, “Well, for us, our kids are going back to school on time. Definitely. They will definitely be in the classroom. We have proven that distance learning is not as effective as being in the classroom. We think that kids have only achieved about 70% of the learning that they could have had they been in school. And then also we have a lot of kids that don’t have a stable home environment; they don’t have parents that are really being responsible to make sure that they’re learning. Those are the kids that are getting hurt the most. And in South Dakota, in some districts, it’s up to 30% of the children. So they need to be there in the classroom where these teachers and administrators can see how they’re doing, look at them, give them a hot meal, make sure that we’re taking care of them, and then make sure that every single child at this important time in their life, that they have the opportunity to learn, so they can be successful for the rest of their life.
Two weeks ago Noem told Fox & Friends host Steve Doocy that her state had been “doing really good” and she believes it is because they let businesses stay open, let people go to work, telling them to be smart and personally responsible and her state is seeing benefits of that each and every day.
As for her advice to other states, “trust your citizens, don’t lay down mandates.”