Eastern peninsula schools will continue remote learning through Oct. 28

Eastern peninsula schools include Moose Pass School, Seward Elementary, Seward Middle School and Seward High School.

This graphic shows the Kenai Peninsula Borough School District risk levels associated with different numbers of new COVID-19 cases. (Image courtesy Kenai Peninsula Borough School District)

This graphic shows the Kenai Peninsula Borough School District risk levels associated with different numbers of new COVID-19 cases. (Image courtesy Kenai Peninsula Borough School District)

Remote learning for eastern peninsula schools will continue through Oct. 28, the Kenai Peninsula Borough School District announced Friday out of “an abundance of precaution.” Eastern peninsula schools include Moose Pass School, Seward Elementary, Seward Middle School and Seward High School.

Eastern peninsula schools transitioned to 100% remote learning on Oct. 9 after entering high-risk level on Oct. 6. The eastern peninsula is at high risk when there are eight or more cases in the last 14 days, medium risk when there are four to seven cases in the last 14 days, and low risk when there are three or fewer cases in the last 14 days.

On Thursday, the City of Seward announced a new positive COVID-19 test result at a local health care facility. The eastern peninsula had no resident cases reported by the state Friday and one Saturday for a total of nine cases in the last 14 days.

According to the announcement, the eastern peninsula will lose four cases from its 14-day case count over the weekend, however delays in test results sometimes mean positive cases take longer to show up on the state’s report. Announcing that classes will remain remote on Friday will prevent the district from reopening to on-site learning on Monday and having to close again Tuesday if new cases are reported.

The week of Oct. 26 is already a short week for the district due to parent-teacher conferences resulting in no classes on Oct. 29 or 30.

In the announcement, Kenai Peninsula Borough School District Superintendent John O’Brien said that the more interaction people have together, the higher transmission rates will get.

“This current acceleration is the result of people’s choices about social gatherings outside of schools and the workplace,” O’Brien said. “These choices are the main drivers of this widespread transmission we are seeing. In order for our students to be able to get back to in-person-onsite-at-school learning we need our communities to wear face coverings in public spaces, not attend large indoor social gatherings, keep their social bubbles small, and practice proven pandemic safety precautions.”

When schools operate 100% remotely, Get-It and Go Meals are free for all students and can be picked up at schools between 12 and 1 p.m. Get-It and Go Meals will not be available for pickup on Oct. 29 or Oct. 30 due to parent-teacher conferences.

According to the announcement, a decision about whether or not eastern peninsula schools will reopen for on-site learning for the week of Nov. 2 will be made next week.

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

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