Governor Burgum tells schools to reopen this fall, with plans for distance and in-person learning

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Governor Doug Burgum gives his long-awaited announcement on school guidance for the 2020-2021 year. Burgum appeared with Kirsten Baesler, the Superintendent of Public Instruction Tuesday afternoon at his regularly scheduled press conference.

Burgum says there’s a responsibility to students and taxpayers in the state. He says school boards will play a vital role in this unprecedented year, Burgum says thousands and thousands of decisions will have to be made. Local control is a big push in this planning for the 2020-2021 year.

Health and safety plans will be required, and there will also be distance learning plans says Burgum. These won’t be district plans but plans by building. Schools boards must approve both of these plans. Districts should consider a hybrid approach of in-person and distance learning according to Burgum. Districts must detail their plans on their website.

North Dakota has more than 121,000 students in K-12 education statewide. Governor Burgum says he hopes to never have to close schools statewide this upcoming school year.

The following are guidelines for schools;

  • Must identify COVID-19 team or coordinator for response planning
  • Plan for communication and training for health and safety plans
  • Process for isolation or quarantine for students or employees or visitors who become sick or have a history of exposure
  • Detail process for rapidly notifying staff and parents of exposure
  • Detail process and plan for identifying and protecting children and staff at higher risk for continued distance teaching and learning
  • Create protocols for social distancing

Governor Burgum had closed schools and given guidance for distance learning back on March 15. He made the decision to continue distance learning on May 1st allowing schools to finish the year online.

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