Letter: North Dakota continues to ignore CDC recommendations
They repeatedly insist that “the safest place for kids is in school” with no evidence as contact tracing was overwhelmed by new cases weeks ago.
Our “COVID year” has surged into December and “local control” has become a farce when it comes to decision-making about which learning models are safest for educators and students.
Gov. Burgum and the Department of Health made up quarantine rules contrary to CDC guidance and unique to only North Dakota and South Dakota (close contacts are not required to quarantine if wearing a mask at time of potential transmission).
- Overwhelmed by cases, North Dakota tells residents with COVID-19 to do their own contact tracing
- Health experts thrash North Dakota's new quarantine guidelines
They repeatedly insist that “the safest place for kids is in school” with no evidence as contact tracing was overwhelmed by new cases weeks ago. Excessively high levels of community spread with relatively few restrictions make it nearly impossible to know where people are being infected. There is no testing in schools for students and only rapid testing (notoriously bad for finding asymptomatic positives) for teachers conducted off site.
Fargo and West Fargo have returned elementary students to full classrooms and cafeterias, acknowledging that social distancing is impossible. Abandoning this mitigation strategy goes against CDC and expert epidemiological guidance, and runs counter to guidance and practice in communities and schools just across the Red River.
Our school officials and public health experts are caught between political pressure from above and below with their jobs and potential school funding on the line.
The health and well-being of our students, educators and school staff stand in the balance as schools shift to riskier learning models while cases, hospitalizations, and deaths are rising and multiple times higher than what is acceptable in this country, even during a pandemic.
Cline lives in Fargo.
This column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of The Forum's editorial board nor Forum ownership.