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Heart and Soul returns to St. Joseph’s Indian School

CHAMBERLAIN – Staff from all over St. Joseph’s Indian School’s campus and Native Hope turned out for a socially distanced parade on Wednesday, August 19 to welcome back 129 second- through eighth-grade students. Bright spirits and colorful, catchy “welcome-back” signs lined the route the students walked in groups across campus. Health center staff waved pompoms, and horses from the school’s equine therapy program took up the rear, adding to the parade atmosphere.

Grade school students returned to campus on Sunday, August 9 and have been observing quarantine, masking and social distancing while remotely learning in campus homes. This measure brings them up-to-speed on technology should a return home become necessary. Each student was tested for COVID-19, and leadership feels comfortable that with several measures in place, this has been a safe and healthy return to school. As of Sunday, August 19, 45 High School students returned.

Classes in the school building are scheduled to begin Monday, August 24 with specific schedules and travel routes for the different campus-home communities to ensure distancing. “We are fortunate to have a well-staffed health center on campus to help us manage under these circumstances, and we are grateful for our work with the South Dakota Department of Health as we developed our return plan,” said President Mike Tyrell. “Since this past spring, we have been in regular contact with the families of our students, and they told us this is what they want.”

Seventh- through eighth-grade Residential Coordinator Frank Whipple summed it up. “Once the kids returned, the soul of our campus returned!  It was great coming to work knowing the kids were back and we would be getting back to our work and mission.”

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