Image via Kenai Peninsula School District

Image via Kenai Peninsula School District

School district explores reopening plans

The district launched a parent survey to get feedback on how to best resume on-site learning.

The district launched a parent and guardian survey Friday to get community feedback on how to best resume on-site learning for schools operating at high-risk level.

A survey was circulated among district staff last week.

The district proposed different options for bringing students back into schools safely in a Nov. 6 announcement. One option includes bringing all students back, except for those who have opted to do remote learning, with increased COVID-19 mitigation protocols in place. Another option is to divide enrolled students into two groups that will have alternating schedules.

For example, the first group may attend in-person classes on Monday and Tuesday, while the second attends Wednesday and Thursday. More sample configurations can be found on communications.blogs.kpbsd.k12.ak.us. According to the district, “An A/B schedule will allow all schools the maximum distancing possible between students and between students and staff.”

During last Monday’s KPBSD School Board meeting, the board heard feedback from parents, teachers and students about their experiences with remote learning. Many said they were struggling with the virtual learning environment while others said it was necessary to prevent further spread of COVID-19.

In a Nov. 4 announcement, KPBSD Superintendent John O’Brien said that new reopening plans will be sent to the Alaska Department of Health and Senior Services for review and then to the school board for approval and adoption.

In determining whether to reopen a school to on-site learning, the district and their Medical Advisory Team analyze 14-day positive case counts and the seven-day positivity trend, consult with medical providers and public health and review their school decision matrix.

Susan B. English School in Seldovia resumed on-site learning Monday. The school first began remote learning on Oct. 27 after the district confirmed a positive COVID-19 case in the community. Cooper Landing School, Hope School, Nanwalek School, Port Graham School and Tebughna School are also currently operating at low-risk levels.

DHSS created risk levels as part of a plan to reopen long-term care facilities to visitors, but DHSS says risk levels also can be used to inform decisions by other entities, including schools, institutions of higher learning and businesses.

During 100% remote learning, Get-It and Go meals are free for all students and can be picked up daily at school. Pre-K, kindergarten and special education intensive needs students can still attend classes in-person during 100% remote learning.

Operational risk levels, case incidence rates and case numbers by community are updated daily on the district’s risk levels dashboard at covid19.kpbsd.org/dashboard.

Reach reporter Ashlyn O’Hara at ashlyn.ohara@peninsulaclarion.com.

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