School starts in the Kenai Peninsula Borough on Monday but students at 17 central peninsula schools will be learning from home. COVID-19 case counts have risen to the point of putting central peninsula schools in red, high-risk status, meaning schools in Kasilof, Sterling, Kenai, Nikiski and Soldotna are shifting to remote learning.
The eastern peninsula is at yellow, or medium-risk status, while the southern peninsula and remote communities are at green, low-risk status. Class will be in session at schools in those regions Monday. The risk statuses are based on the average number of cases over a 14-day range, as well as other factors.
“So we’re looking at what the daily counts are from the state. So we’re taking the scientific data that the state has and they’ve verified and we’re looking at the 14-day trends. We’re looking at seven-day averages. And remember, with COVID, we’re always looking behind us, it’s not really what's happening today,” said Pegge Erkeneff, communications director for KPBSD. “And so we’re looking at all that with our medical advisory team to determine, is the risk really shifting to higher? And then we have to look at if we have a positive case in a school, a student or staff person. And that’s a different thing and could require a different response than if we’re looking at what these 14-day trends are.”
The district has COVID information on alert levels, school status, COVID mitigation, sports, remote learning and much more on its COVID-19 dashboard, available from its website.