Homer High School. (Homer News file photo)

Homer High School. (Homer News file photo)

Southern Kenai Peninsula region of school district moves to medium risk

Schools in the central, eastern peninsula regions are at high risk

The southern Kenai Peninsula region of the Kenai Peninsula Borough School District moved up into medium risk status in relation to the spread of COVID-19 on Tuesday.

The school district updated its operational risk levels on Tuesday afternoon after the new daily numbers of COVID-19 cases were reported by the Alaska Department of Health and Social Services. The district uses the number of new COVID-19 cases a region gets over a period of 14 days to determine the risk level of that region. The district has different protocols and mitigation measures that go along with each risk level. For example, when a region is at high risk, sport programs can be shut down and schools can be closed to in-person learning.

The southern peninsula is now at medium risk with 10 new COVID-19 cases over the last 14 days. The southern peninsula is considered low risk if there are zero to nine new cases over 14 days, medium risk if there are 10-19 new cases over 14 days, and high risk if there are 20 or more new cases over 14 days.

The district has broken its schools up into the following regions: central peninsula, eastern peninsula, southern peninsula and remote schools. The schools located in the southern region include all schools from Ninilchik south. The schools across Kachemak Bay in Nanwalek, Seldovia and Port Graham fall into the remote schools region. That region is still at low risk.

While the southern peninsula is at low risk, the central and eastern peninsula regions are in high risk. The eastern peninsula moved into high risk last week, and the central peninsula moved up to high risk on Tuesday. The school district announced Tuesday that all schools on the central peninsula will close to in-person education and go 100% remote for a minimum of one week starting Wednesday. Schools on the eastern peninsula in Seward and Moose Pass have been operating with closed buildings and 100% remote education since Friday.

On the southern peninsula, McNeil Canyon Elementary is the only school to have moved to 100% remote learning, but only for one day earlier this week. A positive case of COVID-19 associated with the school was announced on Sunday. The school transitioned to 100% remote learning on Monday, but reopened to onsite learners on Tuesday.

Reach Megan Pacer at mpacer@homernews.com.

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