Governor Burgum has issued a number of executive orders, several of which affect K-12 education. Here is a summary of those orders and a link to the text of each one.
July 16, 2020-38:
- School districts required to develop health and safety plans for each of their school buildings, in consultation with local public health units and providers, schoolteachers and staff, families and students, and community and tribal leaders.
- Health and safety plans must be consistent with the North Dakota K-12 Smart Restart document. They must be published on the school’s or district’s website. They must be reviewed and approved by the district’s school board and filed with the North Dakota Department of Public Instruction before the 2020-21 school year begins.
- Distance learning may be offered during the 2020-21 school year in accordance with the district’s plan. The plan must be consistent with the North Dakota K-12 Smart Restart document, reviewed and approved by the school board, and filed with the North Dakota Department of Public Instruction before the 2020-21 school year begins.
- School districts that meet or exceed distance learning plan requirements may receive state foundation aid payments for students who are taught by distance learning.
- On or before Nov. 30, 2020, the Department of Public Instruction will evaluate “a representative sample” of school districts to gauge compliance with their district learning plans. Additional evaluations may be conducted during the school year, at the state school superintendent’s discretion. Results and suggested changes will be reported to school administrators and the governor.
- If an evaluation shows a district is not meeting the goals of its distance learning plan, it may be required to develop, file and implement a remediation plan, which would be approved by the school board.
- The order supplements Executive Order 2020-04.2, dated May 11, 2020. Paragraph 3 of that executive order expired May 30. Paragraphs 1, 2 and 4 of that executive order (2020-04.2) will expire when summer school ends.
June 3, 2020-35:
- This rescinded a previous executive order, 2020-33, which affected school district financial reserves.
May 27, 2020-33:
- This eliminated any penalties against school districts for exceeding state legal limits on the size of their ending fund balances (financial reserves). There was concern that emergency federal CARES aid would push school districts over those limits.
- Once it was determined that CARES aid would not cause problems for school district financial reserves, this order was rescinded June 3 by a subsequent order, 2020-35.
- These orders provided a limited waiver, effective during the spring 2020 semester, of grade requirements high school seniors had to meet to qualify for North Dakota academic and career and technical education scholarships. Students would not have poor class grades counted against them during the spring 2020 semester as long as they earned credit for those classes.
May 19, 2020-04.3:
- This allowed reopening of school buildings from May 15-30 for students to return school property and retrieve their own property.
- Starting June 1, this order allowed schools to serve as exam sites for college admission, scholarship eligibility, and career readiness programs, and offer on-site summer school, 21st Century Community Learning, Head Start, and childcare programs licensed by the Department of Human Services.
March 30, 2020-16:
- School board meetings may be conducted remotely without the use of a central meeting room. Remote access must be provided for those wanting to attend a school board meeting. The order applied generally to meetings of governing boards; it was not specific to school boards.
March 30, 2020-10.1:
- School districts may open facilities during May to provide childcare to children of teachers, health and safety workers, and “lifeline workers” (agriculture, grocery stores, energy and utilities, banks, workers who serve the mentally ill and developmentally disabled.) School child-care centers may serve children in grades K-5 only. Facilities must conform to Department of Human Services childcare guidelines.
March 22, 2020-10:
- This order closed public schools (and, later, nonpublic schools) until further notice. The previous order only specified closure from March 16 to March 20.
- School districts were required to develop age-appropriate distance learning plans.
- March 27 set as deadline for turning in distance learning plans.
- School instruction offered on April 1 and afterward that was provided under the guidance of an approved learning plan counted toward required instructional hours.
- Release of April state aid payment depended on having an approved distance learning plan in place.
March 16, 2020-04.1:
- Made amendments to 2020-04 to exempt some nonpublic residential schools, including the Dakota Boys and Girls Ranch, Circle of Nations School, Anne Carlsen Center, and North Dakota’s state schools for the blind and deaf.
March 15, 2020-04:
- Ordered all public and non-public schools closed from Monday, March 16, to Friday, March 20, 2020.
- Essential staff ordered to report to work Monday, March 16, and Tuesday, March 17, to provide school meals and develop alternative learning plans.