We are one year into The Pandemic. So, how are we doing here in South Dakota? If you listen to the national media you have heard a pretty consistent message. That message, not so good. However, if you look, you might find that as a State, South Dakota has done a pretty good job in keeping people working and taking care of children. HUFFPOST pushed an eye-opener of a story out today. I encourage you to read it over.

In a recent article from Save the Children, it turns out South Dakota did quite well. My wife is a school teacher. We have a son that teaches as well so education comes up a lot in conversations at our house. The most prevalent recurring theme is kids need to be in school! Not everyone or every state has the resources required to make remote learning truly work. Those resources are Money and Technology.

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The report showed that states with the lowest cases of COVID-19 did NOT necessarily do the best at protecting children. The top states were Minnesota, Utah and Washington, North and South Dakota however were NOT far behind in fact, they all scored in the top ten for PROTECTING children.

Let's start with the economic aspect. Those with CASH generally fared during the ongoing Pandemic much better. They most likely had the technology [high-speed internet, computers, tablets, and such] to make remote learning more feasible. Imagine that Mom has two jobs and Dad maybe has two as well and a couple of young students at home. Hard as families try, it is near impossible for those kids to keep up and keep learning. Can you imagine trying to learn to read as a young Kindergarten or First Grade Student online? You can ramp that up substantially if you have a student with special needs,  I believe that teachers are in many cases, modern-day miracle workers. While they CAN make remote learning possible, they will also tell you, it's not the same.

It's not just education. The hunger part of the Pandemic is real too! Think of the low-income students nationwide that miss breakfast while having to stay at home from school. The report was an eye-opener. Nationwide, 25% of children have not always had the tools necessary for remote learning. 1 year into the pandemic, less than half the K-12 Students in the United States are in school full time. 30% are still fully remote and over 25% are utilizing a hybrid system of learning.

I have just touched on a couple of the issues. If you read the report more thoroughly, you get a clear picture that in my opinion, South Dakota, North Dakota, and Minnesota have done a good job at protecting our most valuable resource. Our children.

If you've read this far, thank you. Better yet, if you know a teacher, thank them. If you know a Bus Driver or Educational Assistant a Principal or a Cook or Janitor at your school thank THEM. They have all put themselves and their families at a higher risk of exposure as they help keep kids where they belong. In school.

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