The Fargo School Board approved the more than 80-page district's Smart Restart Plan Thursday, July 30.

After over 6 hours of discussion, the Fargo School Board voted 7 to 2 to approve the Fargo Public School's restart plan.

The school board also voted unanimously to push back the start date for classed from August 27 to September 2. And to give employees paid leave for coronavirus related reasons.

The plan has five phases that range from fully online to fully in-person depending on the COVID-19 threat level.

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The district won't decide what phase students will start at until August 10 after a meeting with a task force that includes administrators, staff, teachers, public health officials, a school board member and a parent.

"Our goal is to get back to provide in-person instruction for every student when we can, that is where we want to get back to," said Dr. Rupak, Fargo Public Schools superintendent.

If online is necessary, the plan includes unique element; a place for elementary students who need a place to go during online class days.

But many teachers are advising caution first.

"I've gotten messages of 'I can retire but I didn't. Can I get out of my contract? Can I resign?' I don't want to be remissive that that is truly things people are worried about," said the President of Fargo Education Association Jen Mastrud.

But some on the board say the plan doesn't go far enough to give older students in-person time in part online part in-person phases.

"It's what we are hearing from out community, this is what we are hearing from our students. The contact days if there is a way we could increase them," said Jennifer Benson.

The plan is still uncertain, the district needs more data. They are looking for how many students want to opt into the full online academy option, and what the COVID case numbers will look like in the fall.

During the school year, a COVID-19 committee will meet every two weeks to update the plan and change levels if needed.