Valley City High School HAC

Governor Burgum’s press conference announcing the executive order to close all K-12 educational institutions in North Dakota came just two days after he and Superintendent Kirsten Baesler announced that schools would remain open. 

More than 30 states have announced that they’re closing all K-2 schools, including North Dakota’s closest neighbors: Minnesota, South Dakota, and Montana.

Why Now?

Gov. Burgum answered that, because North Dakota is one of the states reporting the lowest number of positive COVID-19 cases in the nation (1 so far), the state has the time, resources and capability to get on top of the situation to handle it well.

“As people know, we’ve had some capacity issues relative to people wanting and seeking tests, but not being able to receive them,” Gov. Burgum said. “The people of North Dakota should understand that the risk remains low.”

Closing schools and limiting visitation at long-term care facilities and hospitals, he continued, are a few ways to help minimize the risk of rapid spread.

“It’s great that we’ve got only one confirmed case, [but] with the lack of testing, we can presume that we’ve got more cases in our state than what we are aware of,” Gov. Burgum said. “We don’t know how many. If we have…a rapid increase or spread, then that’s when we run into the issue of overwhelming our health community.”

Read the full story in your Tuesday, March 17th Times-Record. Purchase a paper copy at the TR office or an electronic edition online at

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