Letter: Follow guidelines. Stay the course. Protect the community’s health.

As we face the uncertainty of a global pandemic, we have been prompted to make unprecedented but necessary changes to our daily routines. Everyone must do their part to stop the spread of COVID-19 through social distancing and changes to community and business activities. North Dakota will rise to the challenge.

North Dakota’s elected leaders and public servants should be commended for taking smart, measured steps to assist citizens with the information and tools to flatten the curve of COVID-19 spread, while also working to protect businesses and essential services. We applaud our health care providers who are caring for the sick, educating the public, and taking steps to anticipate future needs. We are especially grateful to workers who continue their jobs on-site. Communities across the state are banding together, whether through windows filled with hearts, teachers parading through town, or efforts to support the elderly and populations of greatest need. North Dakotans are rising and shining.

Before coronavirus struck, our state was blessed with low unemployment, safe communities, new business investment, and growing research and development – all of which have created a level of prosperity for the Valley and the state. Now, even though business may temporarily slow and many workers face unemployment, we believe North Dakota is well-positioned to recover from the economic adversity ahead – in large part because of its hard-working employees. North Dakotans have the greatest work ethic and dedication to their chosen careers and vocations. It is their creative thinking that will allow North Dakota businesses to stay connected, continue moving essential products and services, and tackle important problems. We will continue efforts to further diversify our economy, increase our productivity, and expand our assets as a state. North Dakota will raise the bar.

While it may not be “business as usual” for the foreseeable future, we know North Dakotans are resilient and resourceful through times of challenge and uncertainty. It’s our spirit of innovation and commitment to community that will bring us through this challenging time. Now is a time for us to look to the future and find ways to work together to achieve the common goals to which we aspire. We are confident; North Dakota will rise up stronger.

Brown is the mayor of Grand Forks, Wynne is the president of the University of North Dakota, Walz is a Grand Forks public health officer, Mahoney is mayor of Fargo, and Fleming is director of Fargo Cass Public Health