Governor Burgum, with State Superintendent Kirsten Baesler, provided updated guidance to K-12 school districts after the governor on Sunday ordered schools closed this week to slow the spread of COVID-19 and provide time to gather more data, better assess coronavirus testing and treatment capability, and allow school districts to plan for educating their students in the event of an extended COVID-19 pandemic.
Under today’s guidance, schools will remain closed to students until further notice, with access for essential staff only.
Burgum announced he plans to issue an executive order next week allowing age-appropriate, distance learning to count toward instructional hours. Districts will have until March 27 to submit their plans for resuming instruction with alternative methods and until April 1 to implement the plans and continue to receive state aid payments. Schools that are unable to resume instruction on April 1 must extend their academic school year in order to receive state aid payments for those instructional hours.
Burgum said he will waive all instructional hours for the period from March 23-March 31, meaning schools do not have to reschedule that time. Burgum also waived instructional hours this week, for a total of 12 days waived. These waivers ensure that districts will be able to pay teachers and hourly employees such as paraprofessionals, bus drivers, custodians, food service and other staff through this closure.
Superintendents John Pretzer of Scranton, Josh Johnson of Valley City and Mark Vollmer of Minot all delivered remarks at the press conference describing how their districts have prepared to resume instruction to students using alternative delivery methods including online delivery. Video of the press conference is available on the NDDPI Facebook page.