Devils Lake Public Schools reveals ‘going forward’ plans

Louise Oleson
DL Journal editor
Devils Lake, North Dakota Public Schools Superintendent Matt Bakke

Superintendent Matt Bakke announced Tuesday, Aug. 11 that Devils Lake Public Schools had finalized its Health and Safety Restart Plan (29 pages) and its Activities and Athletics Return to Play Guidelines - COVID-19 for Fall 2020 (18 pages).

Bakke was quick to point out that both documents are subject to revision as they go forward in the current environment.

The start of the school year had been postponed to Sept. 2, a full two weeks beyond the normal start date which would have been Aug. 19. That gave the district time to develop and approve these plans given the circumstances happening locally in the pandemic.

As requested by North Dakota’s governor, the DLPS plans are unique to this district and were created through many hours of work and collaboration of administration, teachers, parents, health officials and staff following the C.D.C. recommendations and guidelines.

Three teams: The Health and Safety Smart Restart Development Team has 42 members, both district representatives and non-district representatives. For the Activities and Athletics plan the assessment team was made up of 12 members, many of them also serving on the Restart Team. A third team is the Building Level COVID-19 Coordinators. Each school building will have an identified coordinator who will be responsible for the health and safety preparedness and response planning. This team, working with public health officials to identify and notify close contacts in the school setting, will report cases found on site, and report to health officials, the Superintendent and the State Superintendent’s office. There are two levels of coordinators for each building, normally the principals. Secondary contacts will be the assistant principals and Bakke will serve as secondary for the elementary schools and the kindergarten center.

Bakke said no names of individuals testing positive will be made public as confidentiality will be strictly observed. Copies of both detailed plans will be made available through DLPS.