Governor Doug Burgum outlines K-12 Smart Restart Plan to open schools

The plan gives districts the opportunity to choose whether to teach students in person, virtually or with a hybrid of both

FARGO, N.D. — The decision on how to educate students this year will be left in the hands of each school district.

District leaders will have the opportunity to decide whether to teach students in person, virtually or a hybrid of the two.

Governor Doug Burgum says this prevents North Dakota from issuing a state-wide closure of schools.

“Some school districts find themselves in counties that have had almost no prevalence of this,” said Burgum. “They have to be ready for that to change, but this is why we have local control because a decision there may be different than a decision where we may have a school in a metro area that is in a center of an area that may be experiencing an outbreak.”

The K-12 Smart Restart plan sets forth guidelines and expectations for how those districts will plan to begin the new school year.

Districts are required to address the dual purpose of educating all students and safeguarding the health of students, faculty, and families.

“Each district must develop a health and safety plan and update their distance learning plans,” said North Dakota Superintendent of Public Instruction, Kirsten Baesler. “Both plans must be created with consultation with faculty, families, staff, students and local public health units.”

As part of the Health and Safety plans require, schools must identify a COVID-19 team, outline a process for isolation and quarantine when a staff member or student becomes sick or are exposed, and they must detail a process to rapidly notify parents and staff of any exposure within the school.

The health plans are required to be building-specific rather than district specific to make sure the over 430 schools in the state are given individual attention.

Superintendent Baesler adds once these plans are in place, schools have the ability to open later or earlier than normal if they see fit.

Categories: Coronavirus-ND, Local News, North Dakota News