Schools still at high risk

Weekly update on the status of peninsula schools.

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)

Central, eastern and southern peninsula schools will continue operating at high-risk levels, meaning learning is 100% remote, through at least Oct. 30. Due to parent-teacher conferences on Oct. 29 and 30, there will be no school for central and eastern peninsula schools, or for most southern peninsula schools. Get-It-And-Go Meals will not be available for pickup on Oct. 29 and 30.

Risk levels are one of the major tools the Kenai Peninsula Borough School District uses to determine the status of schools.

KPBSD also uses input from seven-day averages of positive cases, the Alaska Department of Health and Social Services, the Alaska Department of Education and Early Learning, and the COVID-19 Community Risk Level Medical Advisory Group.

DHSS created risk levels as part of a plan to reopen long-term care facilities to visitors, but DHSS says risk levels also can be used to inform decisions by other entities, including schools, institutions of higher learning and businesses.

The Alaska School Activities Association also is using risk levels to make determinations on practices and games for activities and sports.

Central Peninsula — High Risk: The central peninsula, or Kenai, Nikiski, Soldotna, Sterling and “other North,” had 65 resident cases reported by the state Sunday and Monday for a total of 169 cases in the last 14 days.

The central peninsula is high risk when there are 52 or more cases in the last 14 days, medium risk when there are 51 to 26 cases in the last 14 days, and low risk when there are 25 or fewer cases in the last 14 days.

100% remote learning will continue for central peninsula schools through at least Oct. 30. As of Monday, the central peninsula will need to lose 118 cases from its 14-day case count for schools to drop back into medium risk.

Central peninsula schools include Aurora Borealis Charter School, K-Beach Elementary, Kaleidoscope School of Arts and Sciences, Kenai Alternative School, Kenai Central High School, Kenai Middle School, Marathon School, Mountain View Elementary, Nikiski Middle-High School, Nikiski North Star Elementary, Redoubt Elementary, River City Academy, Skyview Middle School, Soldotna Elementary School, Soldotna High School, Soldotna Montessori Charter School, Sterling Elementary and Tustumena Elementary.

Southern Peninsula — High Risk: The southern peninsula, or Homer, Fritz Creek, Anchor Point and “other South,” had eight resident cases reported by the state Thursday for a total of 34 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, medium risk when there are 19 to 10 cases in the last 14 days, and low risk when there are nine cases or fewer in the last 14 days.

100% remote learning will continue for southern peninsula schools through at least Oct. 30. There is no school on Oct. 29 or Oct. 30 for most southern peninsula schools, due to parent-teacher conferences. Kachemak-Selo, Nikolaevsk, Razdolna and Voznesenka schools are in session Oct. 29 and 30. As of Monday, the southern peninsula will need to lose 16 cases from its 14-day case count for schools to drop back into medium risk.

Southern peninsula schools include Chapman School, Fireweed Academy, Homer Flex School, Homer High School, Kachemak Selo School, McNeil Canyon Elementary, Nikolaevsk School, Ninilchik School, Paul Banks Elementary, Razdolna School, Voznesenka School and West Homer Elementary.

Eastern Peninsula — High Risk: The eastern peninsula, or Seward, had two resident cases reported by the state Sunday and Monday for a total of seven 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, 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.

Though the eastern peninsula’s 14-day case rate should put Seward and Moose Pass schools at medium risk, the district announced last week that it would extend 100% remote learning for those schools through Oct. 28 out of “an abundance of caution.” Eastern peninsula schools are not in session Oct. 29 or 30 due to parent teacher conferences.

A decision about whether or not eastern peninsula schools will resume in-person learning for the week of Nov. 2 will be made this week, the district said.

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

School risk levels, incidence rates and case numbers by location are updated daily at https://covid19.kpbsd.org/dashboard.

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