Just when the general population believes things are slowly returning to normal, COVID-19 decides to spread with lightning speed complete with a new, contagious variant. This new version of the virus is spreading so quickly that many school districts are deciding to once again enforce mask mandates including districts in the Sioux Empire.

Not too far down the road, Tea Area School District is one of the South Dakota school districts that has made the decision to enforce a two-week mask mandate during school days. Why the sudden change? In addition to the rapidly rising COVID-19 numbers, the Tea Area School District is also trying to limit the number of flu cases among its students.

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I recently obtained the email sent by the Tea Area School District Superintendent Jennifer Nebelsick Lowery confirming this immediate shift. Beginning Wednesday, January 12th (today) through Wednesday, January 26th, the Tea Area School District is requiring masks to be worn during the school day. This includes wearing masks during any activity and in the hallways.

There are some exceptions to this mandate. Superintendent Jennifer Nebelsick Lowery explains, "If you have a note from the doctor exempting your student, it will be honored. Our teachers have done a wonderful job creating mask break areas."

Believe it or not, the Tea Area School District is not the only South Dakota school bringing masks back to the classrooms. The Tea Area School District joins the Vermillion and Worthington school districts which have also already implemented temporary mask mandates.

Times continue to be challenging, so overall it's extremely important to be kind to people during our daily comings and goings. This pandemic is clearly a marathon...not a sprint.


Know Your South Dakota College and University Mascots

The college football experience is an ultimate high for football fans and it takes several other teams to make that happen week after week during the season.
Just think about what goes into gameday? First and foremost, the players and coaching staff who put in hours and hours of practice and training to play in front of their fans. Then there's field prep, game officials, live broadcasts, concessions, and on-the-field entertainment. Yep, entertainment.

Second to the game, who do you watch? The cheerleaders? The band at halftime? What about the mascot? That's a job not many people can do.
I asked Sioux Falls native and former Cagey mascot for the Sioux Falls Canaries and Little Red & Herbie for the Nebraska Huskers Nate Welch about being a mascot:

  • What does it take to be a mascot?
  • "Losing a bet or filling an opportunity!" Welch says, "An internal energized desire to love life. After meeting great performers who are introverts out of costume, they become the center of attention when they take the stage. And also feeding off the performance of others."
  • Why does the mascot never talk?
  • "Know your role and shut your mouth. You are there to entertain. Tell the story with your actions and not your voice."
  • Advice to someone putting on that costume for the first time?
  • "Remember you are now in a costume. Have fun. Otherwise, you're just a dork in tights. If the fur ain't flying you ain't trying."

Nate Welch has moved on from his days as a mascot to Executive Director of the Vermillion Area Chamber of Commerce and Development Company in Vermillion, South Dakota.

So, can you name the mascots at our South Dakota Colleges and Universities? Check out the gallery below:

Sioux Falls Top Ten Restaurants

Sioux Falls has no shortage of amazing restaurants. There's a little something for everything here, but the question is, which are the best?

Well, according to Trip Advisor, these are the top ten eateries in the city of Sioux Falls. Is your favorite spot on the list? Take a look.

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