Frequently Asked Questions
The recently adopted decision-making thresholds indicate that additional mitigation strategies may be implemented across a grade level or school once a threshold of 4% or 5% is hit. The percentage referenced is the percent of the total student and staff population within a school that is currently out on isolation as a positive case.
We have calculated the number of cases that would be at each school for each threshold. You can review those numbers HERE.
West Fargo Public Schools has a strong relationship with Fargo Cass Public Health and Essentia Health. We met with them weekly throughout the 2020-21 school year and have continued meeting with them biweekly over the summer. When the recommendations were released from the CDC and then affirmed by our local public health unit, the first thing our district administrative team did was meet with our healthcare partners. We discussed the intent behind the recommendations, as well as our desire to include community data relative to COVID when making decisions. We also polled our stakeholders. The data gathered through that survey was shared with the Board on August 9 and with all staff and families on August 10. You can see a copy of that message and the data HERE.
Our healthcare partners affirmed that no one mitigation strategy could, on its own, prevent the transmission of COVID-19. They provided us with feedback on the other mitigation strategies that help reduce the spread; you can see a list of those protocols HERE.
If we learned anything over the course of last year, it’s that decisions related to pandemic response need to be fluid and responsive. We will continue meeting on a regular basis with our healthcare partners to discuss research, recommendations, case data, and sentiment in our community, knowing how important in-person instruction is to the success of our students and the wellbeing of our families. We will share recommendations with our families and staff so they can make the decisions that are best for their unique situation and we will abide by mandates from our local health department. West Fargo Public Schools is prepared to adjust our mitigation strategies and pandemic response as needed throughout the year to ensure students are able to safely remain in schools.
For families interested in a fully virtual option, WFPS will help them enroll their child(ren) in the North Dakota Center for Distance Education and cover the costs of this enrollment. The district will hold the student’s spot in their home school, and upon the availability of vaccines, or sooner if the family is comfortable, the student may return to school.
Please contact your child's principal if this option is of interest to you.
Because of the hybrid learning model last year, we have a great foundation in place for providing continued instruction to students while they are home. Students will have access to their assignments through Seesaw (K-5) and Schoology (6-12). We learned a lot last year and will use those lessons as opportunities to develop an even better curriculum for students who are in isolation or quarantine.
West Fargo Public Schools is starting the school year as masks recommended for unvaccinated students and staff. If you would like your elementary-aged child to wear a mask during the day, please let your child’s teacher know. Our staff will work with your child to consistently and correctly wear their mask during the day, similar to how we work with students that need to wear glasses. If your child has difficulty wearing their mask consistently and correctly, or outright refuses, their teacher will setup a meeting with you to discuss how we can continue to best support your desire for your child to be masked while at school.
Federal law requires anyone using public transportation, which school buses are considered, to be masked while onboard. If a student boards the bus without a mask, one will be provided to them. Please note that on the majority of our routes, the driver is the only adult onboard. Their responsibility is to drive the bus, so they will not be monitoring mask compliance once the bus starts moving. If your student is a bus rider, please help us by encouraging them to wear their mask consistently and correctly while on the bus.
West Fargo Public Schools is committed to providing all students with a safe and civil school environment in which all stakeholders are treated with dignity and respect. Bullying of or by a student or school staff member is against federal, state, and local policy and is not tolerated. Please see our policy for further information on how incidents of bullying are handled by the district, as well as how to report situations.
In August 2020, a sentence regarding face coverings was added to the district’s Student Dress Code policy, under the Exceptions section: “During certain unexpected or extraordinary circumstances, West Fargo Public Schools may require face coverings to be worn.”
While this was done as a supporting measure to the Return to Learn plan that was required by the state for the 2020-21 school year, the sentence was written so that it could remain part of policy beyond that currently-identified need. No one in education could have imagined needing a COVID response plan, so it made sense to retain the flexibility within district policy if that need would arise again.
The fact that face coverings are still referenced in the policy does NOT mean that administration can require them on a whim, without supporting rationale and a conversation with the School Board. It merely gives the district a policy backing IF face coverings need to be required in the future.