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Gov. Burgum announces ND K-12 public and private schools will be closed for a week

Gov. Doug Burgum announced at a news conference tonight that by executive order all N.D.K-13 public and private schools will be closed for the next 5 days.

Teachers should follow their district’s guidance on reporting to school.

This order does not apply to daycare facilities. He said whether those facilities decide to close will be their decision.

The closing is being done to reduce the rate of infection and to give time for districts to work on a plan. More data also is expected to be available in a few days.

Some of the reasons for the school closings also include:

– The Centers for Disease Control has tightened its guidelines for large gatherings that should be avoided.

– Over the weekend, there have been reports of more North Dakotans being refused tests for COVID-19. This week-long school closing may help increase COVID-19 testing capability in North Dakota.

–State officials have a “more comprehensive” understanding of health care system to handle a “spike” in COVID-19 cases.

Burgum said only 1 test for coronavirus has come back positive and that is a 63-year-old Ward County man who came in contact with a person who tested positive. All others tested in the state for coronavirus have been negative.

“Less contact with other people slows the spread,” Burgum said.

Burgum noted over 110,000 students in K-12 in the state.

In addition to closing schools, Burgum said all essential personnel working on the plans are to report to the schools. He said all 175 school districts will be discussing the plans.

Burgum said a call will be conducted at 8:15 tonight with all superintendents across the state to address questions. He said another call will be conducted at 9 p.m. tonight with medical providers in the state.

The closure decision will be revisited Friday.

Burgum encouraged people to “seek out facts, not fear.” He said more information is available at healthnd.gov and from the Centers for Disease Control website.

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