Thirty five Kenai Peninsula schools will continue remote learning into November, following a Wednesday night announcement from the Kenai Peninsula Borough School District.
Eastern and southern peninsula schools will continue 100% remote learning through at least Friday, Nov. 6. Central peninsula schools will continue remote learning through at least Friday, Nov. 13, according to a release from the district.
The district cited the continued high trend of positive COVID-19 cases, as well as seven-day trends and contract-tracing information from public health as reasons for the extension. The district also said it was exploring “new solutions” to safely bring students back into schools during high-risk periods.
“As the positive COVID-19 case trend rises, it is important for you to know that the KPBSD Instructional Team is exploring new solutions to safely bring more students back into schools during High Risk (Red) operations, and working with Instructional Support to evaluate logistics and mitigation options,” the release said.
According to the district’s SmartStart plan, regions within the district can only have a certain number of positive COVID-19 cases before going to high risk, at which point most students will go to 100% remote learning.
Wednesday, the central peninsula, which includes Kenai, Nikiski, Soldotna, Sterling and “other North,” reported 31 new COVID-19 cases. Altogether, the central peninsula has had 209 cases in the last 14 days. The central peninsula must have fewer than 52 cases in the last 14 days to operate in person.
Central peninsula schools operating at high risk are: Aurora Borealis Charter School, Kaleidoscope Charter School, K-Beach Elementary School, Kenai Alternative School, Kenai Central High School, Kenai Middle School, Mountain View Elementary School, Nikiski Middle-High School, Nikiski North Star Elementary School, Redoubt Elementary School, River City Academy, Skyview Middle School, Soldotna Elementary School, Soldotna High School, Soldotna Montessori Charter School, Sterling Elementary School. Tustumena Elementary School, located in “other North” is also operating at high risk.
Neither the southern or eastern peninsula reported cases Wednesday, however, both of their 14-day case count totals put them at high risk, triggering 100% remote learning.
As of Wednesday, the southern peninsula, or Homer, Fritz Creek, Anchor Point and “other South,” had reported 32 cases in the last 14 days. The southern peninsula is at high risk when there are 20 or more cases in the last 14 days.
Southern peninsula schools operating at high risk are: Chapman School, Fireweed Academy, Homer Flex School, Homer High School, Homer Middle School, Kachemak Selo School, McNeil Canyon Elementary School, Nikolaevsk School, Ninilchik School, Paul Banks Elementary School, Razdolna School, Voznesenka School, West Homer Elementary School.
The eastern peninsula, which includes Seward and Moose Pass, reported eight cases in the last 14 days. The eastern peninsula is at high risk when there are eight or more cases in the last 14 days.
Eastern peninsula schools operating at high risk are: Moose Pass School, Seward High School, Seward Middle School, William H. Seward Elementary.
Susan B. English in Seldovia will extend 100% Remote Learning through Friday, Nov. 6.
Five smaller KPBSD schools continue to operate in low COVID-19 risk, and offer both 100% remote and on-site at-school learning options. Cooper Landing, Hope, Nanwalek, Port Graham and Tebughna could pivot to 100% remote learning if there are local positive COVID-19 cases, according to the release.
During 100% remote learning, Get-It and Go meals are free for all students and can be picked up daily at school between 12 p.m. and 1 p.m. Meals will not be available on Thursday or Friday due to parent-teacher conferences. Pre-K, kindergarten and special education intensive needs students can still attend classes in-person during 100% remote learning.