This screenshot shows the number of COVID-19 cases different regions of the Kenai Peninsula Borough School District has had over the last 14 days. (Screenshot by Homer News)

This screenshot shows the number of COVID-19 cases different regions of the Kenai Peninsula Borough School District has had over the last 14 days. (Screenshot by Homer News)

Remote learning extended for most schools

Younger students were able to return to onsite learning on Wednesday

Remote learning has been extended for most schools in the Kenai Peninsula Borough School District, as risk levels relating to the community spread of COVID-19 remain high.

The school district announced on Nov. 24 that remote learning for students in grades one through 12 will now last through at least Dec. 18 for schools in the central, southern and eastern regions of the peninsula. On the southern peninsula, from Ninilchik south, that applies to the following schools:

Chapman School

Fireweed Academy

Homer Flex School

Homer High School

Homer Middle School

Kachemak Selo School

McNeil Canyon Elementary School

Nikolaevsk School

Ninilchik School

Paul Banks Elementary School

Razdolna School

Voznesenka School

West Homer Elementary School

The district announced that students in pre-K and kindergarten, and Special Education Intensive Needs students across the district could return to in-person school starting Wednesday.

The Kenai Peninsula Borough School District has mitigation plans in place for what will happen with in-person education when different regions of the peninsula are in low, medium and high-risk levels.

Regions of the peninsula are put into low, medium or high-risk categories based on the number of new cases of COVID-19 identified over a 14-day period. This model is based on rates of cases per 100,000 of population.

As of Wednesday, the southern peninsula (from Ninilchik south) remained in the high risk category with 175 new cases in the last 14 days. The southern peninsula is in low risk if it has had zero to 9 new cases in the last 14 days, is in medium risk if there have been 10 to 19 new cases in the last 14 days, and would go into high risk if there were 20 or more new cases in the last 14 days.

The central peninsula, including Kenai, Nikiski, Soldotna, Sterling and Kasilof, was also at high risk as of Wednesday, with 646 new cases over the last 14 days.

The eastern peninsula (Seward and Moose Pass) was also at high risk Wednesday with 33 new cases of COVID-19 within the last 14 days.

The rural communities within the school district remain at low risk. That category includes Nanwalek School, Port Graham School and Susan B. English School in Seldovia across Kachemak Bay, as well as Cooper Landing School, Hope School, and Tebughna School. At these schools, both in-person and remote education is being offered.

The district is still offering free Get-It and Go meals for remote students, which can be picked up daily between noon and 1 p.m. Families need to place meal orders by noon on Fridays.

The KPBSD School Board is set to review an update to the district’s Smart Start plan at its Dec. 7 meeting, according to the district. The focus of the plan update is being able to have more students attend school onsite during high risk operations, according to the district’s announcement.

For information on how to watch or participate in the school board meeting, visit go.boarddocs.com/ak/kpbsd/Board.nsf/Public.

Reach Megan Pacer at mpacer@homernews.com.

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