Kenai Peninsula Borough School District communications blog/Screenshot

Kenai Peninsula Borough School District communications blog/Screenshot

KPBSD pauses weekly antigen tests for athletes

The district is experiencing “supply chain challenges”

The Kenai Peninsula Borough School District confirmed Friday that it has paused weekly COVID-19 antigen testing for student athletes in response to supply chain problems with testing supplies.

KPBSD Communications Director Pegge Erkeneff said Friday that the district is experiencing “supply chain challenges” similar to those being experienced elsewhere in Alaska. Erkeneff said the district decided to pause weekly antigen testing to ensure testing resources were available for athletes when travelling for games and for people who feel sick during the school day. Athletes will still have daily symptom checks, but will only be tested when symptomatic or for travel games to other districts.

Weekly antigen testing will be paused until more supplies are received and distributed to school sites and the district evaluates the best use of testing resources, Erkeneff said.

“Over the past 18 months of navigating the pandemic, we’ve continued to evaluate what is happening in real time, and respond,” Erkeneff said via email.

Erkeneff said that the district’s additional testing resources have already arrived and that a district truck will travel to Anchorage next week to pick them up. The testing resources must be kept in a controlled temperature environment of between 59 and 83 degrees while being transported.

The district was not able to provide the number of antigen tests that were conducted among student athletes on Aug. 16.

Weekly antigen testing of student athletes is part of KPBSD’s layered COVID-19 mitigation protocols, detailed earlier this month. Those protocols also include social distancing to the extent possible in schools, the recommendation of face masks for staff and students and bipolar ionization disinfection of air through buildings’ HVAC systems.

More information about how KPBSD is responding to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic can be found on the district’s COVID-19 website at covid19.kpbsd.org.

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

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