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Lead-Deadwood Eases Academic Eligibility for Athletes; Meade Delays Start Date for Coronavirus

How badly did online learning go during our coronavirus spring? So badly, says Lead-Deadwood superintendent Dr. Dan Leikvold, that his school had ten times as many students flunk enough classes to lose eligibility for fall sports and thus needs to suspend its stricter eligibility policy and default to the the state’s looser academic eligibility requirements:

School board member Tim Madsen, who made the successful motion to follow Leikvold’s recommendation, asked if the eligibility numbers prior to the closure had been reviewed and if the students were eligible prior to the closure.

Leikvold said that yes, the students were eligible prior to the closure.

“I don’t have the numbers for sure, but it’s probably 10 times more that are ineligible if we go with our policy, rather than the state’s policy,” he said. “That’s never happened.”

Leikvold suggested that, then, in the fall, the school district returns to its own policy [Jaci Conrad Pearson, “L-D Schools Address Academic Eligibility Affected by Covid-19 Closure,” Black Hills Pioneer, 2020.07.01].

Lead-Deadwood’s policy requires students to earn passing grades in six courses each quarter. The South Dakota High School Activities Association requires four passing grades per semester (technically, the student must earn two full credits in the semester preceding participation: see SDHSAA Bylaws, Chapter 1, Part IV, Section 1.D.1).

Dr. Leikvold does express confidence that if coronavirus does require remote learning this fall, teachers will be able to apply what they learned this spring to do better:

Leikvold said that remote learning will be more effective next fall than it was last spring.

“I’m confident we’ll learn what we did right, what we did not so well, and fix it,” he said. “I think students will be more cognizant of the need to stay abreast of their work. They just can’t not engage. I think parts of the last 10 weeks is a big do-over. We learned a lot” [Conrad Peterson, 2020.07.01].

Meanwhile, downhill from Lead-Deadwood, Meade schools plan to start with face-to-face instruction this fall, but they will be starting a week later to give teachers and students more time to recover from the Sturgis Rally:

The Meade School Board voted unanimously Monday to push back the start of in-service for teachers from Aug. 25 to Aug. 31, and the start of classes for students and staff from Aug. 31 to Sept. 8 following the Labor Day holiday.

School board members are concerned that with Sturgis hosting the annual Sturgis Motorcycle Rally amid the COVID-19 global pandemic there are chances of a spike in cases in the community just before the start of school.

Moving the start dates back gives both teachers and students at least two weeks following the Rally before they would gather again in school buildings [Deb Holland, “Meade School District Pushes Back School Start Date,” Black Hills Pioneer, 2020.07.02].

No one in Sturgis, Lead, or any other school district knows whether our kids will spend their first day of the 2020–2021 school year in the classroom or at home on the Internet. But those tentupled flunkers in Lead, the kids whose parents have to stick around to scrub the Sturgis sidewalks, and all other South Dakota students and teachers had better be ready for some amount of online learning this fall.


  1. leslie 2020-07-05 12:32

    warns that next week we’ll see 60K new #coronavirus cases a day, but that will really be *75K* cases because we’re only diagnosing 1 in 12 infections. FACE THE NATION

  2. grudznick 2020-07-05 16:47

    Good for those kids. Let us all hope they keep their noses clean and stay away from the Bob’s famous bar which will render them ineligible to compete.

  3. Debbo 2020-07-05 21:33

    That’s the decent thing for L-D to do. I hope other schools are similarly flexible as teachers and students continue with this big adjustment.

    Leslie, COVID-19 numbers are even higher than that. Some red states are lying about their numbers to please Dimwitted Doofus and his cult members.

  4. John 2020-07-06 17:35

    While most of our nation has high concern about reopening schools this fall, South Dakota trudges ahead with eyes wide shut.

    Even senior administrators and principals cannot cope with performing their functions without exposing one another. They ‘had to’ have an in-person meeting discussing reopening of their schools. Obviously led by someone less intelligent than Forrest Gump’s, ‘stupid is, stupid does’. Have you ever seen kids? They don’t do social distancing.

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