Minnesota family moves to South Dakota for open schools

MINNEAPOLIS — South Dakota has taken some heat for its per capita COVID-19 death rate, the eighth highest in the nation. But some families are moving there because that state has taken a different approach to the pandemic.

In January, Ali and Tony Gabriel pulled up stakes and moved from Lakeville to Sioux Falls in search of schools with traditional classroom instruction because they sensed their three daughters were falling behind in distance learning.

All three of their girls – Nora, Nina and Noelle – had been receiving some level of special education services, including paraprofessionals and personalized instruction, in the Lakeville Schools. But they found those face-to-face services weren’t available after schools switched to online instruction due to the COVID crisis.