Homer High School. (Homer News file photo)

Homer High School. (Homer News file photo)

Homer High has 1st COVID-19 case since reopening

Close contacts have been quarantined; school schedule not interrupted

Homer High School had its first positive case of COVID-19 this past Friday, about two weeks after in-person education resumed at Kenai Peninsula Borough School District schools. The case caused little interruption to the school’s schedule, however.

A case of COVID-19 was identified in either a student or staff member on Friday, according to Principal Doug Waclawski. Because the high school and school district adhere to health and student privacy laws, schools do not specify whether cases are associated with a student or a staff member, and their identities are not published.

Through contact tracing, those who had close contact with the positive case have been identified and quarantined, according to a letter Waclawski sent to parents, provided to the Homer News.

“We knew this might happen, we planned for it and our mitigation plan is working,” Waclawski wrote in the letter. “I’m thankful everyone is doing a great job following the mitigation plans and very few people had to quarantine because of it.”

The school will continue notifying parents whenever there is a positive case, the letter states.

Because the case was identified on a Friday right before a weekend, and due to the school’s already increased level of sanitation inside the building, the positive case did not disrupt the school schedule. Homer High remained open on Monday for its B group of students. Students currently attend Homer High School in two groups split up according to where their names fall in the alphabet. Half the school’s students attend for one full week while the other half learns remotely, and then they switch.

Group A went to remote learning this week while group B returned to the building on Monday.

Pegge Erkeneff, director of communications, community and government relations for the school district, said in an email that the district has identified new positive cases in various district schools on a weekly basis over the last several months. During a COVID-19 spike in November and December, the district was identifying new cases daily.

“This is a good reminder of the importance of following the plans schools have in place, and how sneaky this virus is,” Erkeneff wrote.

Homer High School’s football team was quarantined this past fall when two coaches tested positive for COVID-19.

A new weekly report tracking the new positive COVID-19 cases within the school district, including students and staff, is in the works, Erkeneff said. It will hopefully be published on the district’s website later this week or early next week, she said.

Parents and community members are urged to keep their social bubbles small and to follow precautionary steps if they or a family member notices any symptoms of COVID-19, according to Waclawski’s letter. Those steps are isolating and getting tested, and in the case of a student, keeping the student home from school and notifying the school nurse or KPBSD nurse at 907-260-2391.

Reach Megan Pacer at mpacer@homernews.com.

More in News

Alaska Chief Medical Officer Dr. Anne Zink addresses members of the media during a remote press conference on Thursday, March 4, 2021 in Alaska. (Screenshot)
Zink: Stay vigilant with COVID mitigation

Some parts of Alaska are experiencing increased COVID transmission

AP Photo/Becky Bohrer 
Alaska state Sen. Lora Reinbold holds a news conference outside the Senate chambers in the Alaska Capitol on Thursday, in Juneau.
Alaska state Sen. Lora Reinbold holds a news conference outside the Senate chambers in the Alaska Capitol on Thursday, March 4, 2021, in Juneau, Alaska. Reinbold said she wants an apology from Gov. Mike Dunleavy, a fellow Republican, after he sent her a letter last month accusing her of misrepresenting the state’s COVID-19 response. A Dunleavy spokesperson said the governor will not be retracting his letter to Reinbold. (AP Photo/Becky Bohrer)
Reinbold wants Dunleavy apology after scathing letter

Reinbold has held hearings highlighting views of those who question the usefulness of masks.

Kenai City Hall on Feb. 20, 2020, in Kenai, Alaska. (Photo by Victoria Petersen/Peninsula Clarion)
Kenai debates future of utility lenience

The city’s disaster declaration is set to expire at the end of this month

Photo courtesy Alaska SeaLife Center 
Computer rendering of the Rocky Coast Discovery Pool exhibit opening at the Alaska SeaLife Center in Seward spring 2021.
SeaLife Center to unveil revamped touch pool

The exhibit has been in development since 2017

Rep. Deb Haaland, D-N.M., listens during the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources hearing on her nomination to be Interior secretary, on Capitol Hill in Washington. Some Republican senators labeled Haaland “radical” over her calls to reduce dependence on fossil fuels and address climate change, and said that could hurt rural America and major oil and gas-producing states. The label of Haaland as a “radical” by Republican lawmakers is getting pushback from Native Americans. (Jim Watson / Pool Photo)
Senate energy panel backs Haaland for interior secretary

Murkowski was the lone Republican to support Haaland.

University of Alaska Board of Regents member Andy Teuber listens to a discussion during a meeting at UAA on Sept. 12, 2019, in Anchorage, Alaska. The U.S. Coast Guard is searching for an overdue helicopter piloted by Teuber who is the former head of the Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium. Teuber had resigned last week after allegations of sexual misconduct surfaced against him which he denied. Teuber left Anchorage about 2 p.m. Tuesday, March 2, 2021, in a black and white Robinson R66 helicopter en route to Kodiak Island. (Marc Lester/Anchorage Daily News via AP)
Coast Guard ends search for helicopter in waters off Alaska

Andy Teuber, 52, former head of the Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium, left Anchorage about 2 p.m. Tuesday.

Assembly Member Tyson Cox speaks during a Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly meeting on Tuesday, March 2 in Soldotna, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
Borough extends disaster declaration

Large-scale clinics hosted in part by the borough can vaccinate hundreds in one day

EMT Jason Tauriainen administers a COVID-19 vaccine on Saturday, Jan. 23 in Nikiski, Alaska. (Photo courtesy of the Nikiski Senior Center)
More people eligible to receive COVID vaccine

Alaska continues to lead the nation in vaccine rollout

Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion
Kenai City Manager Paul Ostrander (left) and Kenai Mayor Brian Gabriel present their 2021 “State of the City” address on Wednesday in Kenai.
Kenai saw increase in sales tax revenue in 2020

The city saw growth all four quarters in 2020

Most Read