ND United members seek state to do more to slow spread of COVID-19
In a poll of 756 teachers and education support staff conducted in October, 67% say Governor Doug Burgum has not gone far enough in trying to slow the spread.
FARGO, N.D. — North Dakota United has conducted three polls since July to hear from K-12 teachers and education support staff on what concerns they are facing during this unprecedented school year.
The most recent survey suggests these educators are growing more fearful of the coronavirus and are asking for more to be done to help slow the spread.
There were 756 polled in the latest survey which was taken in late October. 86% percent say they want a mask mandate in the classroom, which is up from 73 percent just a month before.
Eighty percent are also asking for a mask mandate to extend to their community. That includes those in Fargo, who say efforts taken by those outside of the school can help students get back into the classroom sooner.
“We continue to beg for our community to follow the mitigation efforts and to take it seriously. It is not just the school board, it’s not just the teachers, it is not just the public educators, it is the businesses as well,” Fargo School Board Vice President Robin Nelson said.
Over the last month, the number of coronavirus cases has risen steadily in North Dakota and October was the deadliest month of the pandemic with 205 deaths.
In North Dakota United’s July survey, a majority of people were supportive of the actions taken by Governor Doug Burgum, but recently, they feel he could do more.
“As we have gone along the infection rate, the hospitalization rate, the death rate have risen,” said the president of North Dakota United, Nick Archuleta. “We have seem less and less confidence among our members that the leadership and the state, including the governor and the superintendent, are making decisions that appeal to them.”
In the latest poll, 67 percent say Burgum has not gone far enough to stop the spread and 60 percent say the same about State Superintendent of Public Instruction Kirsten Baesler.
What is maybe the most alarming fact to come out of the survey was that the concerns have caused many to rethink their profession.
“We have just 51 percent of our members committed to coming back to teaching schools next year,” Archuleta said. “That is startling.”
Archuleta adds that educators can’t get the help they need on their own. They are calling for the governor to issue measures to slow the spread, such as a statewide mask mandate and a limit to the size of social gatherings.