Schools head to ‘medium’ risk

Eastern and southern peninsula schools may return to in-person learning five days a week for all grades on Jan. 25

Students in every grade level at some schools may be able to return to in-person classes five days a week as soon as Jan. 25 due to a decrease in community spread of COVID-19 on the peninsula.

The Kenai Peninsula Borough School District announced last Friday that schools in the eastern and southern peninsula may return to in-person learning five days a week for all grades as soon as Jan. 25. Schools in the central peninsula may also return full time as soon as Feb. 1.

According to the district release, families will be contacted by the district when the change takes effect.

“The KPBSD team continues to monitor COVID-19 spread, health care capacity, and ability to staff and operate schools safely,” the release said. “Thank you for your good effort to open schools safely, and keep schools open!”

As of Friday, central, eastern and southern peninsula schools were operating at high-risk level. The district’s revised high-risk operations went into effect last week, meaning students in grades pre-K through sixth were allowed to return to in-person learning five days a week, while students in grades seven through 12 returned on an A/B schedule.

As of Jan. 15, the central peninsula needed to lose 89 cases from their 14-day case count in order to drop back into medium-risk level. The southern peninsula needed to lose eight cases and the eastern peninsula needed to lose three cases.

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

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

Reach reporter Ashlyn O’Hara at