Sterling Elementary welcomes students on the first day of school on Tuesday, Aug. 17, 2021. (Camille Botello/Peninsula Clarion)

Sterling Elementary welcomes students on the first day of school on Tuesday, Aug. 17, 2021. (Camille Botello/Peninsula Clarion)

Schools’ COVID case counts now online

KPBSD launches hub reporting latest cases.

One-hundred and eighty students and 25 staff members have tested positive for COVID-19 in the Kenai Peninsula Borough School District since Aug. 23 — the first day the district began formally tracking COVID-19 cases. That’s according to a new school district dashboard that went live late Thursday night and tracks COVID-19 cases among students and staff in the school district.

Those totals include 115 students and 14 staff members who have tested positive over the last seven days and 21 students who tested positive on Thursday.

Since Aug. 23, an additional 1,063 students and 98 staff have been identified as close contacts of someone who has tested positive for COVID-19.

The district dashboard also shows the seven-day case count per school and the percentage of school population — staff and students — impacted. As of Thursday evening, Sterling Elementary School has seen the highest proportion of students and staff test positive for COVID-19 over the last seven days. In the last seven days, about 7.61% of the school’s 184 students and staff — about 14 people — have tested positive for COVID-19.

At Kenai Middle School, which has the second-highest proportion of positive school population, 29 students and staff have tested positive for COVID-19 in the last week, representing about 6.5% of the school’s population.

The launch of the dashboard comes as COVID-19 case numbers on the Kenai Peninsula and statewide continue to surge, and several district schools are operating with universal indoor masking for staff and students.

As of Thursday evening, Seward Elementary School, Seward Middle School, Seward High School, Moose Pass School, Port Graham School, River City Academy, Susan B. English School and Tebughna School were all operating with universal indoor masking. Nanwalek School was operating remotely due to a seven-day “hunker down” order issued by local community authorities, effective Aug. 25. The school is expected to continue remote learning through Sept. 7.

The new dashboard can be accessed at covid19.kpbsd.org/dashboard.

KPBSD quarantine protocols

Unvaccinated, asymptomatic close contacts of someone who is COVID-positive must immediately quarantine. They can return to school one to two weeks after exposure once cleared by public health.

Unvaccinated, symptomatic close contacts of someone who is COVID-positive must immediately isolate. If that person tests positive, they must keep isolating. If they test negative, they must stay home while symptomatic or until finished with seven- to 14-day quarantine, whichever is longer, then talk to a health care provider and consider testing again before returning to school.

Vaccinated, asymptomatic close contacts of someone who is COVID-positive do not need to quarantine. They must get tested within three to five days of exposure, must wear a mask for 14 days and should carefully monitor for symptoms over the next two weeks.

Vaccinated, symptomatic close contacts of someone who is COVID-positive must get tested and immediately isolate. If that person tests positive, they must keep isolating. If they test negative, they must stay home while symptomatic, then talk to a health care provider and consider testing again before returning to school.

Regardless of vaccination status, symptomatic individuals with no known contact should immediately get tested and stay home. A positive test means that person must isolate for 10 days. A negative test means that person should stay home while symptomatic, then talk to a health care provider and consider testing again before returning to school.

The CDC distinguishes between quarantine and isolation. Isolation separates sick people with a contagious disease from people who are not sick, while quarantine restricts people who were exposed to a contagious disease to see if they become sick.

KPBSD’s full COVID-19 mitigation plan, as well as community case numbers and quarantine protocols for vaccinated and unvaccinated students is available 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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