Seventeen central peninsula schools will move online tomorrow

Oct 13, 2020

The Kenai Peninsula Borough School District website has a public dashboard of COVID-19 data, including information about how community transmission rates are affecting area schools.
Credit KPBSD

Central Kenai Peninsula schools will follow their eastern peninsula counterparts in shifting immediately to 100 percent remote learning as coronavirus cases spike locally. That’s 17 schools from Sterling to Kasilof, through Kenai, Nikiski and Soldotna.

The central peninsula has been inching toward the red zone for a while. Yesterday, the Kenai Peninsula Borough School District issued an “advance warning” that central peninsula schools would shift to remote learning if case counts continued to rise in the region. That was after several new cases were reported locally, part of a trend of rising numbers statewide.

Today, the central peninsula entered the “high” risk zone.

Those rising rates are coupled with mounting cases within central peninsula schools. According to the memo from the school district, contact tracing has put over 63 staff and students in isolation or two-week quarantine. 

Remote learning will begin tomorrow and will extend for at least a week, said District Superintendent John O’Brien in the memo.

“My hope is that we can slow the spread, and reopen schools as soon as Monday, October 26, 2020,” he said. “We will all know more in the next week as the state catches up with a backlog of positive test results.”

According to the press release, kindergarten, prekindergarten and special education intensive needs students may still attend in-person school. Per protocol outlined in the Alaska School Activities Association, all extracurricular activities will cease. Get It and Go Meals are free and will be provided to students during the remote period.

This is the second block of schools on the peninsula to go remote within a week. Eastern peninsula schools shifted to a remote learning model last week when case rates entered the “high” risk zone.

Southern peninsula schools remain open, although that region shifted into the “medium risk” zone today after weeks in the “low.”