A screengrab of Kenai Peninsula Borough School District Superintedent John O’Brien announcing in a Thursday, July 30, 2020 video that masks will be required in school buildings this fall, in Soldotna, Alaska. (Photo by Victoria Petersen/Peninsula Clarion)

A screengrab of Kenai Peninsula Borough School District Superintedent John O’Brien announcing in a Thursday, July 30, 2020 video that masks will be required in school buildings this fall, in Soldotna, Alaska. (Photo by Victoria Petersen/Peninsula Clarion)

Schools to require masks, face coverings

Masks are now mandatory for all staff and students in third grade and higher.

Masks or face coverings will be required in school buildings when they reopen, Kenai Peninsula Borough School District Superintendent John O’Brien announced in a Thursday night video message.

“Cloth face coverings will need to be worn when 6 feet of physical distancing cannot be provided,” O’Brien said in his video announcement.

The school district finalized their reopening plans at the July 13 board of education meeting. That plan encouraged face coverings and masks to be worn by staff and students, but on Thursday, O’Brien announced masks are now mandatory for all staff and students in third grade and higher.

O’Brien said he made the decision based on feedback he received from the Alaska Department of Health and Social Services and from staff and parents regarding the district’s Smart Start Plan, the district’s reopening plan.

The mask requirement will be mandated in all schools across the district, O’Brien said in the video. When visitors and parents enter school buildings, they will also be required to wear a cloth face covering.

Later in his video announcement, O’Brien asked parents to give the district a preliminary idea on how their families will choose to learn this fall. The district is offering students three choices: to attend school in person, to do remote learning through the neighborhood school or to do remote learning through the district’s home-school program, Connections.

O’Brien said families should give an indication about what decision they might make when school starts in August.

“It would be very helpful for principals to have a preliminary idea so that they can plan class lists and which staff at their school are going to be teaching in person and which ones at their school are going to be teaching remotely,” O’Brien said in his video announcement.

As the beginning of school nears, the district will be sending out enrollment forms asking for finalized decisions from families.

O’Brien said he was encouraged by COVID-19 case count numbers for areas around the peninsula, and said he’s hopeful as dipnetting and tourism seasons end that case numbers will continue to drop.


• By Victoria Petersen, For the Peninsula Clarion


More in News

Daily school district COVID-19 risk levels: Aug. 6, 2020

Risk levels are based on COVID cases reported in a community and determine how schools will operate.

Painted signs posted at the candlelight vigil held for Anesha “Duffy” Murnane on Saturday, Feb. 1, 2020, at WKFL Park in Homer, Alaska, affirm love for Murnane and beseech her safe return. (Photo by Delcenia Cosman)
Virtual birthday party to be held for missing Homer woman

Anesha “Duffy” Murnane has been missing since Oct. 17, 2019.

COVID-19. (Image courtesy CDC)
Anchorage Pioneer Home reports COVID cases

State reports 4 cases on peninsula

Auctioneers Andy Kriner, left, and Rayne, Reynolds, right, celebrate a successful sale during the 4H Junior Market Livestock Auction at the Kenai Peninsula Fair on Saturday, Aug. 17, 2019 at the fairgrounds in Ninilchik, Alaska. (Photo by Brian Mazurek/Peninsula Clarion)
                                Auctioneers Andy Kriner, left, and Rayne, Reynolds, right, celebrate a successful sale during the 4H Junior Market Livestock Auction at the Kenai Peninsula Fair on Saturday, Aug. 17, 2019 at the fairgrounds in Ninilchik, Alaska. (Photo by Brian Mazurek/Peninsula Clarion)
Livestock auction shifts to drive-in at rodeo grounds

4-H’ers come up with creative way to host Annual Junior Market Livestock Auction

Alaska State Troopers badge
4 bears killed after Hope mauling

The incident occurred July 29.

Daily school district COVID-19 risk levels: Aug. 5, 2020

Risk levels are based on COVID cases reported in a community and determine how schools will operate.

Friends remember pilot killed in crash

‘God didn’t make guys like Greg very often’

Image via Kenai Peninsula Borough School District
School board seeks to use last year’s enrollment numbers

The loss of in-person enrollment will cause a significant loss of revenue for the school district.

The Wilderness Adventurer is shown Wednesday, Aug. 5, 2020, following its return to Juneau, Alaska, after one of its 36 passengers tested positive for COVID-19. The first cruise of the stunted season was cut short, and all passengers were required to quarantine at a hotel while the 30 crew members were to quarantine on the ship. (AP Photo/Becky Bohrer)
COVID result cuts short 1st Alaska cruise of stunted season

The cancelled trip by UnCruise Adventures was the first of the season.

Most Read