At his weekly COVID-19 briefing, Governor Doug Burgum was asked if he anticipated trouble as schools begin to open for classes in the next few weeks.
School districts have been working to put together their own plans for in person, distance learning and hybrid plans - as well as how to handle exposures of COVID-19.
Burgum says each school district should be able to decide how to handle those exposures - whether it be by classrooms, entire schools or entire districts. He says he believes children will be safe in schools, as their risk of serious illness or death from the virus is low. That lead to this question from a reporter at the briefing:
"Dr. Fauci said over the weekend that there is no study currently available that gives us data that shows what effect COVID-19 really has on children. In fact, he said there will be no study that has usable data until November or December. So the question to you, Governor, is - where's the beef? Where's the science?"
Burgum responded that there are many unknowns about the virus, and says while he is confident in going forward with schools reopening - parents still have the right to keep their children home.
"So if a parent is uncomfortable and wants to wait until they think there is more scientific conclusion about whether or not their student is safe in school, then that's the parent's choice they can make to do that. We respect that right, and I expect we may see more incidents of people choosing to do distance learning or choosing to do homeschooling on their own. This year I'm sure we'll see more of that because different parents, based on their own child's health, can have different risk assessments."