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When leaders fail to lead

Liz Anne Conmy, Fargo

This fall, a small town school board in western North Dakota surveyed parents to determine what measures to take against Covid-19 when school started. Parents overwhelmingly stated no masks, no distancing… let’s be normal.

Now, Covid-19 cases are rising among students in this small town. An emergency school board meeting was held to deal with the rising number of students exposed to the virus. The board decision? To disregard state guidelines saying students should quarantine. Pretend there is no risk. Let students infect their teachers, peers, teammates, and the community.

This is what happens when leaders fail to lead. In the midst of the most serious health crisis our country has faced, state leadership is taking a pass. This is why North Dakota leads the nation in the number of Covid-19 cases per capita.

Parents and school boards are not experts equipped to deal with a modern pandemic that is spreading and has killed nearly 350 North Dakotans. The responsibility lies with state government. With North Dakota leading the country in the spread of the virus, we need policies NOW that put public safety first. Governor Burgum has failed so far in protecting us, thinking slogans are as effective as action. He is wrong. But it may not be too late.

We have simple science-based tools to prevent the virus from spreading and killing more North Dakotans: Masks, distance, sanitize, and avoid gatherings. Epidemiologist, doctors, and evidence support these measures. They have proven to work in other communities and are not permanent. They would save lives. But we need a leader to make it happen.

Our governor seems to be all hat and no cattle. Or all slogan and no action. Time to buck up governor.

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