The North Dakota Board of Higher Education at a special meeting on July 23, 2020, adopted a resolution, which requires North Dakota’s 11 colleges and universities to encourage wearing masks at their campus to stop the spread of COVID-19 when they reopen in the fall.
The board called the meeting to discuss new COVID-19 testing measures amid a rising number of cases. To help higher education institutions comply with new measures and precautions, the board suggested colleges and universities drafting policies and procedures that mandate the use of masks.
The North Dakota Health Department has reported an increase in the number of deaths due to COVID-19 and the number of active coronavirus cases and hospitalizations state-wide as of July 23, 2020. As per data from the Department, the total number of coronavirus tests in North Dakota amounts to more than 275,000, which could be even higher, provided many people have not been tested yet.
According to Joshua Wynne, the chief health strategist from North Dakota, once the classes resume, it would be obvious to see students from other U.S. states joining back their colleges and universities in North Dakota. In such a scenario, students are requested to take the coronavirus tests that Wynne says is quite an easy process.
Considering the number of students, which totals to about 45,000, returning to colleges, Wynne assures the board that North Dakota is well prepared and has planned coronavirus testing at a large scale at the state’s bigger campuses. Wynne also informed the board that a strict guideline has been put in place to conduct coronavirus testing of student-athletes. He cited students’ travel and inability to wear masks during sports competitions as the prominent reasons behind the guideline. Wynne said that he would soon come up with a more detailed testing plan.
Though North Dakota is one of those U.S. states that do not require people to wear masks, the number of positive coronavirus cases has spiked up recently. However, Governor Doug Burgum denied issuing a state-wide mandate for people to wear masks.