When the spring semester ended three months ago, school administrators were hoping COVID-19 would continue to decline sharply during the summer and pose few problems in the fall. But they remained alert to the possibility that it would increase again.

We’re glad administrators were diligent, and we expect their plans will pay off this fall.

By and large, South Dakota schools remained open last school year, in contrast to many other states that had remote learning for substantial parts of the year. That experience gives local schools an advantage this fall.

The two largest schools in Lake County are Dakota State University and Madison Central Schools, both of which plan to be slightly less stringent this fall.

DSU has gone to a mask optional policy, although that policy was set in May and could be revised before school starts. Madison Central has taken down its plexiglass dividers but is keeping them in storage just in case. Masks are optional, but if more than 1 1/2% of a school building’s occupants have COVID-19, then everyone in that building will wear masks until the number of cases drops below the threshold.

We again express our appreciation to faculty, staff and students of all local schools as they work to do what is necessary to have an effective school year.

-- Jon M.Hunter