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As our society propels into the digital age, many schools are looking to add virtual instruction options to their calendar, and virtual education options are growing in North Dakota! Throughout the last few years, the North Dakota Legislature has provided several options for students and families to participate in virtual instruction in North Dakota. Please click the tiles below to explore these options further.

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Student Choice and the Center for Distance Education

The 68th Legislative Assembly passed, and the Governor signed into law House Bill (HB) 1376. HB 1376 provides more opportunities for students and families to meet their educational requirements through approved North Dakota virtual schools and North Dakota’s Center for Distance Education (NDCDE). Here you will find the two options regarding virtual education utilizing the NDCDE.

Option 1: Student Choice 
Under this option, a student enrolled in a North Dakota public school can request to take any course they choose through the NDCDE. All costs related to the course are incurred by the school district. This could include courses currently offered by the district or not. 

Key aspects of this option are:

  • The student must be present in the school building for at least half the school day.

  • The school must allow the student to take any course, even if the school currently offers it; an example of this is English Language Arts.

  • The school can require the student to take the NDCDE courses in the school building.

  • There are parameters on courseloads, withdrawals, and course retakes. You can find this information on the NDCDE website here

Option 2: Parent Pay
Students can elect to take one or all of their courses through NDCDE if they pay themselves. If students would like to pay on their own, they can: 

  • Become a full-time CDE student by registering in their home districts as a homeschooled. High school students choosing this option may elect to enroll in CDE’s diploma program. For more information on the diploma program, visit the NDCDE website.

  • Remain in their home district, purchase and pay for a course through CDE and take the course outside of school hours. For more information on enrolling, visit the NDCDE enrollment website.

 

Open Enrollment to an Approved Virtual School

The 68th Legislative Assembly passed, and the Governor signed into law House Bill (HB) 1376. HB 1376 provides more opportunities for students and families to meet their educational requirements through approved North Dakota virtual schools and NDCDE. Here you will find the two options regarding virtual education utilizing the NDCDE.

Under this option, parents can open-enroll their students in any virtual school across the state. 

Key aspects of this option are:

  • Parents must complete and file all open enrollment paperwork outlined in the North Dakota Century Code by the required due dates.

  • Students enrolled in a virtual academy many miles from their district of residence are not entitled to play sports or participate in activities in their district of residence – unless a co-op has been formed. 

  • Schools must abide by all state and federal laws and regulations, including but not limited to:

    • North Dakota Century Code

    • North Dakota Administrative Code

    • Accountability and Assessment requirements

    • The Individuals with Disabilities Act (IDEA) and 504 requirements

A Q&A document regarding this option can be found here

Weather or Other Conditions

The 67th Legislative Assembly recognized that virtual learning is appropriate when the school building is not accessible. House Bill 1232 was signed into law and became NDCC 15.1-27-23. Weather or other conditions – Closure of schools – State aid payments to school districts. This law enables districts to conduct virtual instruction on a case-by-case basis. 

Key aspects of this option are:

  • Districts must have a board policy in place to virtually instruct because of weather or other conditions.

  • Scenarios in which virtual instruction because of weather can be used include:

    • Flood

    • Mold

    • Tornado

    • Carbon monoxide poisoning

    • Radon poisoning

    • Snow day or blizzard conditions

    • Water pipe break

    • Fire

    • Boiler-heating system failure

    • Infectious disease outbreak

  • One or two families can participate in virtual learning because of extenuating circumstances.

  • Virtual instruction under NDCC 15.1-27-23 provides students the ability to educate for a timeframe of nine to 18 weeks due to weather or extenuating circumstances. Extenuating circumstances include when some but not all students do not have access to the school building.

  • When districts and schools utilize this option, they must remain cognizant of the school calendar and teacher-contracted work days.
  • Virtual instruction can not be used during assessment days. For example, if a school is proctoring the ACT to juniors on a particular day, the school cannot have the rest of the student body virtually educated during this time. The school must open to all students. 

Guidance regarding virtual instruction because of weather or other conditions and reporting requirements for schools can be found here.

Military, Medical Condition, or Relocation

The 68th Regular Legislative Assembly passed, and the Governor signed into law House Bill 1132. HB 1132 provides more opportunities for a military-connected student, a student with a medical condition, or a student moving out of state to enroll early or remain enrolled and attend a North Dakota school by engaging in virtual instruction.

Key aspects of this option are:

  • A school district may allow a military-connected student, a student with a medical condition unable to attend school physically, or a student moving out of state to enroll early or remain enrolled and attend school by engaging in virtual instruction.

  • The period of virtual instruction permitted under this section may not extend beyond the current school year.

  • If the board of a school district that operates a physical building chooses to provide virtual instruction under this section, the board shall adopt a local policy.

  • A military-connected student engaging in virtual instruction qualifies for average daily membership in the school district.