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

City of Kenai greenlights “People Counter Project”

The city will use $135,000 in federal CARES money to purchase cameras and other equipment.

A sign by the Homer Chamber of Commerce and Visitor Center shows where to vote on Aug. 21, 2018, for the Diamond Ridge, Homer, Alaska, precinct. (Photo by Michael Armstrong/Homer News)
Election 2020: A how-to guide

When, where and how to vote in the Oct. 6 municipal election

COVID-19. (Image courtesy CDC)
113 new COVID-19 cases, 3 on peninsula

The state also reported three additional hospitalizations associated with the disease.

Daily school district COVID-19 risk levels: Sept. 17

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

The entrance to the Kenai Peninsula Borough building in Soldotna is seen on June 1, 2020. (Photo by Brian Mazurek/Peninsula Clarion)
COVID-19 prominent in Tuesday assembly action

Kenai, Soldotna and Homer reiterated their recommendations that residents follow CDC guidelines.

Daily school district COVID-19 risk levels: Sept. 16

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

Soldotna High School English teacher Nicole Hewitt teaches her students remotely from her empty classroom at Soldotna High School on Monday, April 6, 2020 in Soldotna, Alaska. (Photo by Victoria Petersen/Peninsula Clarion)
Assembly asks state to use 2019 enrollment counts to determine funding

The number of students currently taking classes in person is about 1,700 less than was expected.

Most Read