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Department of Health ready to help schools with COVID-19 guidance

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In just a few weeks, kids all over North Dakota will be returning to class — but what will that look like?

Since last year, the American Academy of Pediatrics and the CDC says kids learn best in-person and together.

But as kids gear up to go back to school the North Dakota Department of Health says we have to come with methods to do it as safely as possible.

“You know they take a layered approach and there are different layers that could be added. More layers you use in the school to help reduce spread, the safer the learning could be,” said Kirby Kruger, the Section Chief for Disease Control at NDDOH.

Kruger says some of the precautions in schools should be things like mask-wearing indoors, staying home when sick and physical distancing if possible.

“Maintain a 3, at least a 3-foot distance between students or cohorting if that’s possible. Schools again have to look to see how well that will work with them. Then I think another thing is if schools are able to do it, increasing ventilation in those school buildings can help to bring in as much fresh air as possible,” said Kruger.

Kruger says the Department of Health is here to help guide schools through decision-making. They will continue to do contact tracing on students and reach out to schools about those positive cases.

“But at the end of the day, it will be up to the schools to make the decisions on whether they are want to quarantine or close a classroom. But we’ll be there to provide our guidance and assistance as needed,” explained Kruger.

The department has the rapid antigen test for any school system that would like to utilize them.

Kruger says one concern going into the new school year is the Delta variant.

Over the last week, there have been 70 new cases here in the state.

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