No one wants to get back to a normal work routine more than our dedicated teachers, higher ed faculty, education support professionals, and public servants.  We are anxious to resume providing the vital public services that North Dakota’s citizens depend on every day.  Unfortunately, 2020 has been anything but normal.  We want to go back to work but only after we are confident that every practice and protocol supports the mitigation of the risk of contracting the Coronavirus.

Too often, schoolteachers and education support professionals are tasked with tackling vexing social issues.  Such is the case now with the Coronavirus.  Our teachers and support staff will teach kids how to wear their masks appropriately, how to properly social distance, and how to wash their hands correctly.  Likewise, university campuses and state agencies will employ protocols designed to enhance safe learning and workspaces.

But schools, state agencies, and campuses should not have to do this on their own.  Every person in every community has a responsibility to do all they can to bend the curve downward and reduce the community spread of this insipid virus.  I agree with Dr. Robert Redfield of the Center for Disease Control and Prevention.  He said, “The data is clearly there that masking works.  It is not a political issue; it is a public health issue.  It really is a personal responsibility for all of us.  If we really embrace masking, if we really embrace social distancing, and hand washing, we could bring this outbreak to its knees.”

So, my ask of you is this:  Please wear a mask at work and in public spaces.  Until we have a vaccine, social distancing, mask wearing, and hand sanitation are the most effective tools we have ensure our safety and reduce the rate of infection.

Finally, all of us at North Dakota United want all of you to be as safe as humanly possible.  If you have any concerns about your safety, I am urging you to over-communicate those concerns with your administration.  If you need personal protection equipment, over-communicate that, too.  If your concerns fall on deaf ears, let us know!  We are here for you now and we will be here for you every step of the way.

Thank you for your membership in North Dakota United, and thank you for your incredible work on behalf of the citizens of North Dakota.

Nick Archuleta

ND United President