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A Rural School Adjusts to Serve Its Students During COVID-19

Posted by Julie Gross, USDA Rural Development State Director for South Dakota in Coronavirus Rural
Aug 14, 2020
An online Red Cloud Indian School class
Red Cloud Indian School classes moved online during the COVID-19 crisis. Photo Courtesy of Red Cloud Indian School.

USDA Rural Development provides opportunities to enhance education in rural communities. We can see these investments throughout the state and I’m proud of the contributions that team South Dakota is making to support education initiatives and so much more.

Red Cloud Indian School, Inc. resides in one of the most economically challenged areas of the state, the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation. COVID-19 brought a lot of uncertainty to this school. The administrators, faculty, students, and families made an incredible commitment to respond and adjust accordingly.

In a matter of days, the administrators and teachers switched over from teaching in-person to distance learning for nearly 600 students. On a normal day, the daily attendance rates average 90% or higher, so it was a significant transition.

During the crisis, meals are being prepared daily for students. Over 600 meals were distributed along bus lines and in four churches to youth under the age of 18. The recipients do not have to be Red Cloud students.

Our schools in South Dakota play a vital role in educating and preparing future generations for postsecondary education and careers. Providing necessary and quality education in South Dakota is important to create ladders of opportunities for future generations.

I’m uplifted by the accomplishments of the Red Cloud Indian School, Inc. and value our partnership along with the many successes we’ve shared. USDA Rural Development has funded several projects at Red Cloud Indian School, Inc. including school buses, equipment purchases, cafeteria tables, sewer infrastructure, and energy efficiency improvements.

During remote operations, Rural Development continued its work to help rural communities and beyond with infrastructure, investments, business needs, essential services, and affordable housing opportunities. At USDA Rural Development, we are committed to helping improve the quality of life in rural America and want to be a partner for progress because together, America prospers.

A Red Cloud Indian School staff member delivering food
A Red Cloud Indian School staff member delivers food to make sure no child goes hungry during the COVID-19 crisis. Photo Courtesy of Red Cloud Indian School.
Category/Topic: Coronavirus Rural