Underwood School District Superintendent and candidate for State Superintendent of Public Instruction Brandt Dick joined Good Day Dakota to discuss K-12 Smart Restart and talk about points of differentiation between him and incumbent Superintendent Kirsten Baesler.
Dick is in favor of the local control. “Our state is a big geographical state, there’s a lot of difference in those cases, although those cases are starting to rise up, I do appreciate the opportunity that each school district, and for us, we’re right in the midst of it, and we’re trying to figure out how we’re gonna keep our kids safe, our staff safe, and how we’re gonna make sure we educate our kids to the best of our ability,” said Dick.
Local districts may see spikes in cases in their specific area or even school buildings. In terms of looking to the Department of Public Instruction for guidance regarding wearing masks or bus travel, Dick explained they are challenged with balancing social distancing and providing students with quality face-to-face education. “We’re probably at the point where we’re saying we’re probably not going to require masks. We’ll recommend them but it will be up to the parents and the students if they choose that. Buses, we’ll have to do some cleaning protocols in between routes and those type of things, so again we’re really trying to focus on if there is a case when there is a case, that we know who those kids have been in contact with,” explained Dick about the contact tracing system his district will have in place.
Dick explained that if he were State Superintendent he would have announced the K-12 Smart Restart plan sooner. “I just think that the middle of July is really crunch time to make all those decisions. There are just so many decisions when you talk about bussing when you talk about extracurricular activities, you talk about lunchtime, you talk about recess, how do you talk about that? It just would have been nice to have a little more time,” said Dick.
Underwood School District is using a comunication app and has formed a committee of parents, teachers, and staff to work through their local plans. He said they will be sending it to the district’s board of directors soon.
Incumbent State Superintendent Baesler has a lot of support among voters in North Dakota. She won more than 54% percent of the vote in a multi-candidate primary race in early June. Dick wants the voters to know that the November 3rd general election is an “opportunity for change.”
“She has been in position for two terms,” said Brandt. “And, this is a time to make a change for someone who can set an example outside of the job and inside of the job as well.”
State Superintendent Kirsten Baesler joined Good Day Dakota on Wednesday to discuss K-12 Smart Restart and give her message to North Dakotans.