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Peninsula prepares for coronavirus

With the confirmation of Alaska’s first positive coronavirus case in Anchorage on Thursday, efforts to prevent the spread of the virus on the Kenai Peninsula are ramping up. The Kenai Peninsula Borough School District announced Thursday that all 42 schools in the district will be closed next week.

The University of Alaska is also extending its spring break a week, with classes not resuming until March 23. And even then, all classes possible will shift to online delivery. At Kenai Peninsula College, faculty and staff will work next week to figure out which classes still have to meet face-to-face, primarily labs that can’t be done over the internet. Going forward, any staff or students with any symptoms of coronavirus are required to stay home.

The school district is also instituting a symptom-free school protocol through the end of the school year. Anyone who has a temperature of 100 or higher, a cough or a persistent runny nose should stay home. This includes the school day as well as before- and after-school activities and sports. The district also has a dedicated page on its website for coronavirus updates and information.

The Boys and Girls Club of the Kenai Peninsula also announced a closure of all its programs in all locations on the peninsula next week. All facilities at the North Peninsula Recreation Service area are closed. Kenai and Soldotna libraries are still open but all programs have been canceled until further notice.

Several community activities and events have been canceled, as well. The North American Hockey League suspended all games, which means the Kenai River Brown Bears will not be playing in Soldotna this weekend or next, as scheduled. The Kenai Chamber’s annual beer and wine fundraiser has been postponed until October.

The Kenai Public Health office is offering free influenza vaccinations for all ages and eligibilities. It’s not a coronavirus vaccine but is meant to protect Alaskans from the flu and reduce demand on the resources of the health care system. Appointments can be made by calling 335-3400.

The Alaska Department of Health and Social Services is using the Alaska 211 information system to provide information about the pandemic. Anyone seeking information about coronavirus can call 2-1-1 to talk to licensed medical professionals. Anyone living in rural areas where 2-1-1 isn’t available can call 800-478-2221. DHSS has also created an informational web page, at coronavirus.alaska.gov.

Jenny Neyman has been the general manager of KDLL since 2017. Before that she was a reporter and the Morning Edition host at KDLL.
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