Tracker Pixel for Entry

​Fargo Cass Public Health cannot issue or enact a mask mandate: Responsibility lies with Fargo City

News | August 19th, 2021

By Alicia Underlee Nelson

alicia@hpr1.com

Citizens advocating for universal masking in schools report being told that school districts would observe a mask mandate if the health officer from Fargo Cass Public Health issued one. Fargo Cass Public Health officials say issuing a mask mandate isn’t possible.

“Fargo Cass Public Health does not have that authority,” said Justin Bohrer, Public Health Analyst at Fargo Cass Public Health. “A health officer is not able to enact a mask mandate over West Fargo Public Schools or Fargo Public Schools. As an agency, Fargo Cass Public Health is able to pass on recommendations.”

It recommends a multilayered disease prevention strategy that includes universal indoor masking for all students, staff and visitors. Other mitigation tactics include ventilation, COVID-19 screening, effective handwashing, and physical distancing as well as contact tracing, isolation and quarantine. This advice echoes recommendations from The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the American Academy of Pediatrics.

_________________________________________________________

“...THE FARGO CITY COMMISSIONERS ARE THE ONES THAT WOULD NEED TO TAKE ACTION ON A MASK MANDATE.”

_________________________________________________________

Holly Scott, Fargo Cass Public Health public information officer, advised residents to communicate with their school district and school board members directly. Contact information for faculty and school board members can be found on school district websites. Fargo Public Schools is currently the only school district in the Fargo-Moorhead metro with a mask mandate in place.

“They really need to reach out to their respective school district and share their concerns,” said Scott. “At the end of the day, that decision rests with the school board or the school district.”

Scott and Bohrer explained that Fargo Cass Public cannot issue a general mask mandate either. That responsibility lies elsewhere.

“Fargo Cass Public Health is unable to enact a mask mandate,” explained Bohrer. “The governing body is the only one that can do that. The governing body for Fargo Cass Public Health is the Fargo City Commission. Fargo Cass Public Health can recommend mitigation measures, including masking, but the Fargo City Commissioners are the ones that would need to take action on a mask mandate.”

Citizens can also contact other elected officials. Bohrer advised Cass County residents to reach out to the West Fargo City Commission and the Cass County Commission as well.

“They are our representatives,” Bohrer said. “And they would ultimately make the decision for a mask mandate.”

_______________________________________________________

UPDATE

After this article went to press, Heather Leas, Director of Health, Safety, & Public Relations at West Fargo Public Schools issued a statement on behalf of the district.

“West Fargo Public Schools will require masks if a county-wide mandate is put into place,” said Leas in an August 21 email.

West Fargo Public Schools does not currently require masks or offer contact tracing. The North Dakota Department of Heath notifies the school district whenever a staff member or student tests positive for COVID-19.

West Fargo School Board President James Jonas announced that West Fargo Public Schools will issue a statement to West Fargo residents on August 22. The district plans to announce additional COVID-19 mitigation strategies as well.

“Superintendent Slette and I will be releasing a letter to the West Fargo community tomorrow,” said Jonas. “It will have more information on how we are moving forward.”

“District administration is working with Essentia to develop thresholds that may prompt the addition of new mitigation strategies in particular classrooms, grades levels, or schools based on case data in our schools and community,” Jonas continued. “We are hopeful to see an initial draft from them right away next week.”

School starts in West Fargo on August 26. Updates will be posted as the the story unfolds.

Recently in:

By Kris Gruberperriex1@gmail.comThat old adage no longer applies: There is now such a thing as a free lunch, and it is here to stay. With help from a willing community, the founders of Lunch Aid North Dakota are continuing their…

By Michael M. Miller michael.miller@ndsu.eduLarry Kruckenberg of Cheyenne, WY, a native of Hazen, ND, has authored a new book, “Big Bend Country: A Journey of Good Times, Hard Times, and Hope,” available from GRHC.Kruckenberg…

Thursday, March 19, 4:30- 8 pm1609 19th Ave N, FargoCass County Soil Conservation District is hosting their annual Ladies’ Ag Night supper event. This event has a goal of bringing together multiple generations of women involved…

By Sabrina Hornungsabrina@hpr1.comIs Texas Senate Bill 8 only the beginning?If it wasn’t so insulting to primates, it looks as if some of the most vocal anti-abortion lawmakers in North Dakota wish to adapt a monkey see monkey do…

By Ed Raymondfargogadfly@gmail.com If This Country Isn’t Going to Hell, It’s Certainly Becoming OneIn that most Christians today no longer believe in Christ’s messages, there doesn’t seem to be a good reason to remain one.…

To say that this year’s Bartenders Battle was the best display of talent in the six years since its creation would be an understatement and a disservice to not only the bartenders who made it into the competition, but also the…

Sabrina Hornungsabrina@hpr1.com15 July 2021With Grand Forks being a hop skip and a cruise away from Fargo-Moorhead, our neighbors to the north have some great dining options. Whether you’re planning on spending a weekend or…

Sabrina Hornungsabrina@hpr1.com15 July 2021“We have a guy that's been involved with the show for many years as a landlord and knew what it was like in the heydays. So he knows where he wants to take it.” says WE Fest General…

By Greg Carlsongregcarlson1@gmail.comMatt Myers died unexpectedly on August 20 while exploring Iceland with Dr. Jacqueline Bussie, his partner of 38 years. We are still trying, without success, to make sense of it.His large circle,…

By  Sabrina Hornung sabrina@hpr1.com2021 marks the 18th annual FMVA Studio Crawl, the Fargo-Moorhead Visual Artists’ largest event. This year 38…

By Kris Gruberperriex1@gmail.comDrag shows, for me, feel like a celebration of artistry, esthetic, music, and camaraderie. With a dash of confetti thrown in.The local drag community is a close-knit family. Giving back to affiliated…

by Kris Gruberperriex1@gmail.comAdam Quesnell's last show at The Cellar beneath the Front Street Taproom in Fargo was in early September of 2018. He was embarking on a seminal move from Minneapolis to LA. As always, his comedy was…

By Kris Gruberperriex1@gmail.comSpring is here (mostly), and our area is buzzing with people eager to get back out and about -- many newly vaccinated and feeling a bit safer. Partnering with Jade Events, Fargo Brewing is just…

by Laurie J Bakeremsdatter@gmail.com Part of modern yoga is participating in the world around us. We live in a time of upheaval in society and nature, and of great suffering in humans of all ages. Most of us perceive this suffering…

By Theresa L. Goodrichsubmit@hpr1.comIt was day ten of our epic southwest road trip and we’d made it to Arizona. After camping in Oklahoma, the Texas Panhandle, and New Mexico, we were exhausted, but fortunately our night in…

by Annie Prafckesubmit@hpr1.com17 June 2021On June 19th, from 12pm to 7pm, nonprofit Faith4Hope Scholarship Fund is hosting their first ever Juneteenth Freedom Celebration at Lindenwood Park in Fargo. It is free and open to the…