West Fargo School Board approves mitigation measures based on COVID-19 infections
WEST FARGO, N.D. (KVRR) – In a six to one vote, West Fargo School Board members approve a plan outlining steps to be taken if COVID-19 infection rates rise in schools within the district.
Unlike Fargo and Moorhead Public Schools, West Fargo does not require masks.
“Please don’t take our freedoms and our choices and our rights as parents. I am begging you guys to do the right thing here,” one parent said at the meeting Wednesday night.
Board members heard from parents and students both against and for mask mandates in schools.
“I urge you to order a mask mandate for all of West Fargo Public Schools, so we don’t experience real trauma of losing friends, classmates, and teachers,” said Sheyenne High School student Kaden Armstrong.
The newly-approved resolution takes effect Thursday.
In part, it outlines various mitigation strategies, such as a mask requirement, based on active positive cases within a school.
For example, if 4% of a West Fargo school’s total student and staff population is identified as an active positive case, masks would become required in that school for at least 14 calendar days or until case rates drop below 4%.
“I appreciate the difficulty as a parent and a healthcare provider and a resident, a taxpaying citizen, of the balance that’s required,” Family Healthcare Nurse Practitioner Kara Knert said. “I think this is a good plan. I think I feel comfortable with it as a healthcare provider and a mom.”
The plan was drafted by district leaders and the North Dakota Healthy Return to Learn Team.
As of Tuesday, September 7th, there were 56 active cases among West Fargo students, which is a 0.45% positivity rate.
“Listen to the schools about what we need to do in schools, listen to the doctors about what we need to do in hospitals,” urged Nate Cariveau, a 5th grade teacher at South Elementary School.
One parent said, “Leaving [wearing masks] as an option lets those who want to have it can do it, those who don’t don’t have to.”
School Board Vice President Jessica Jackson was the only one to vote against the plan.
To view the entire resolution, click here.