Kenai Peninsula College is photographed on March 26, 2020. (Victoria Petersen/Peninsula Clarion)

Kenai Peninsula College is photographed on March 26, 2020. (Victoria Petersen/Peninsula Clarion)

Voices of the Peninsula: Kenai Peninsula College and COVID-19

We don’t like it, but we are doing the best we can with the hand we’ve been dealt.

Despite not going out into public like I did pre-pandemic, in my limited interactions with others I’m always asked if KPC is open and how we’re doing. We are three weeks away from starting our fall semester Aug. 24 and I want everyone to know how KPC is handling the COVID-19 issues and how we will operate this coming semester.

When the pandemic hit, University of Alaska campuses converted virtually all of their classes to online instruction. Most all faculty and staff worked remotely if their job allowed. For those with jobs that required face-to-face interactions, some were furloughed. Much of the same will be true for our fall semester.

The university has identified five COVID phases (A through E with A being the most restrictive). We went to Phase B on June 1, which means “medium risk” and a limited resumption of on-site operations. What does this mean for the fall?

KPC courses will be delivered primarily via distance with a few face-to-face courses, such as small enrollment courses, labs and clinicals.

Per University of Alaska Anchorage Chancellor Cathy Sandeen, all people entering UAA campuses will be required to wear a face covering if continuous 6’ social distancing cannot be maintained. We will provide masks to anyone needing one. We understand that some people may have a medical condition that prevents them from wearing a mask so they will be offered a clear plastic face shield. If someone still refuses to wear a mask, they will be informed if there are options to take the class online. Face coverings are required.

People on campus will need to wash their hands when they arrive at campus and when they depart. We will have hand sanitizers available around the campuses. Students taking in-person classes will be expected to sanitize touch surfaces when they get to class and before leaving. These wipes will be in all classrooms.

Facilities departments at both campuses have been and will continue to sanitize the campuses, including regular disinfecting of touch point areas.

We will still provide services to students, such as advising, testing, learning centers, library, tutoring, computer labs, etc… but services will be by appointment only and protective measures will be followed. Most of these services will be conducted via Zoom or phone.

There will be no public events on our campuses due to the social distancing rules and not being able to enforce such restrictions at public events.

While the pandemic has upended all our lives, your college is still open albeit in a different way. We don’t like it, but we are doing the best we can with the hand we’ve been dealt. Hopefully the restrictions will relax for the spring semester, but based on how Alaska’s case counts are increasing that may be wishful thinking. Be safe and healthy.

Gary J. Turner has been the director/CEO of Kenai Peninsula College for 18 years. KPC is comprised of the Kenai River Campus in Soldotna, Kachemak Bay Campus in Homer and Resurrection Bay Extension Site in Seward.

More in Opinion

Julie Anderson, commissioner of the Department of Commerce, Community & Economic Development, speaks to the Alaska Chamber of Commerce at Centennial Hall on Thursday, Jan. 31, 2019. With Anderson on stage Curtis Thayer, President and CEO of the Alaska Chamber. (Michael Penn | Juneau Empire)
Opinion: When we support local, Alaska thrives!

The economic impacts of COVID-19 have been devastating for small businesses across… Continue reading

Commissioner of the Alaska Department of Natural Resources Corri A. Feige.
Opinion: Council helps state ‘know where it’s at’

Integrating such data into other land management tools helps us make better decisions about how to use and conserve our resources.

Opinion: Best practices to sustain permanent fund

It is our job to equip the fund for success for decades to come.

Jeremy Field, regional administrator for the U.S. Small Business Administration (courtesy photo)
Opinion: Shopping small for 2020 holiday season needed more than ever

Small retailers and restaurants are relying on us to send a message with our dollars that says, “We’ve got your back.”

Alaska Lt. Gov. Kevin Meyer (courtesy photo)
Alaska Lt. Gov. Kevin Meyer (courtesy photo)
Opinion: No trace of fraud in Alaska’s 2020 election

My thanks go out to every Alaskan who chose to participate in our democratic process.

Flag.
Opinion: Helping Alaska’s veterans connect and heal

Americans should be concerned about the wellbeing of Alaska’s military veteran

Vic Fischer (courtesy)
Alaska Voices: Oh, for bipartisanship!

Now is a good time to seek a model of political goodwill that has been sorely missing from our state

A Remington Deluxe Model 5 manual typewriter. (Homer News file photo)
Editorial: Let our better angels prevail

We hope election of Biden and Harris means the end of bitter, divisive politics, and the rebirth of civility in government and social existence.

A poll worker helps a voter with their ballot at the Soldotna Regional Sports Complex on Tuesday, Nov. 3 in Soldotna, Alaska. (Photo by Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
Alaska Voices: Practice patience as we wait for election results

Every voter must have their voice heard and vote counted — and that process takes time

West Homer Elementary School Principal Eric Waltenbaugh.
Point of View: Keep practicing COVID-19 safety to reopen schools

Safe practices, testing and contact tracing will bring numbers down.

Sen. Mike Shower (Michael Penn | Juneau Empire)
Ballot Measure 1 — Why I am a ‘no’ vote

Alaskans are voting on important issues to determine our next steps in… Continue reading