N.D. to allow winter sports, extracurriculars amid increasing COVID-19 cases
BISMARCK, N.D. — Giving in to political and public outcry, Republican Gov. Doug Burgum has reversed course and will allow winter sports practices and other extracurricular activities to resume at the end of November, although sports competitions will remain suspended until mid-December.
Burgum instated the pausing of practices and other extracurriculars last week when he became one of the few governors in the Midwest to issue a state-wide mask mandate. The idea behind the four-week pause in activities was help keep schools open to in-person instruction – optimal for most students – and ensure that students continue to follow the mitigation strategies of wearing a mask and social distancing.
“We believe in North Dakotans. We believe in the power of individual responsibility. And we need individual responsibility now more than ever to slow the spread of COVID-19,” Burgum said during his announcement of the mandate last week.
Late Wednesday, Burgum made the joint announcement with House Majority Leader Chet Pollert and Senate Majority Leader Rich Wardner. The governors spokesman, Mike Nowatzki, said the governor’s office had been inundated with calls and messages from constituents opposed to pausing sports practices and other activities. Nowatzki says the governor did not cave to pressure but instead “responded to constituent feedback.”
Todays announcement comes as the state surpasses 10,000 active COVID-19 cases. The addition of 10 new deaths brings the states death toll to nearly 800 since the pandemic began.