Kenai Peninsula Borough School District

Elizabeth Earl / KDLL

The Kenai Peninsula Borough School District will require cloth face coverings for all staff and most students as the school year starts.

Superintendent John O’Brien announced the policy in a video on Friday morning. He says the policy applies to all staff, all students in third grade and above, and for all parents and volunteers visiting the schools.

On Monday, the Kenai Peninsula Borough School District unveiled its Smart Start plan for opening schools Aug. 24 amid the continuing coronavirus pandemic.

Superintendent John O’Brien outlined the plan to the Board of Education during an afternoon work session.

“Really, the hallmark of our KPBSD plan provides parents with choice, consistency, continuity and, of course, we are very firm on symptom-free schools being an aspect of this Smart Start plan if we’re going to be able to keep students in school this year,” O’Brien said.

A committee has been working on the plan since May. Assistant Superintendent of Instruction Clayton Holland, who chairs the committee, says the plan takes into account parental feedback.

“Parents will have the choice to decide if they’re going to be our neighborhood school in person with the kids or be part of our neighborhood school and participate remotely and/or join our Connections homeschool program,” Holland  said. “So we’re offering those choices between there. We’re hoping that that meets the needs of our families.” 

Kenai Peninsula Borough Schools Superintendent John O’Brien has announced the district’s planning for opening up school again in the fall.

The borough assembly passed its fiscal year 2021 budget late last night with few major changes, but plenty of debate about those changes.

The approved budget provides about $82.8 million in general fund expenditures, which pay for services like general government operations and the borough’s contribution to the Kenai Peninsula Borough School District. This year, that contribution is $50 million, a little more than $2 million below the maximum amount the borough could have contributed by statute.

The Kenai Peninsula Borough School District is working on contingency plans for reopening schools in the fall. At a Monday night school board meeting, Superintendent John O’Brien said the “Smart Start” workgroup, made up of parents, teachers, staff and administrators, is working with the state to develop various options, since no one knows what the COVID-19 situation will be in August.

“Scenarios for low-risk, medium-risk and high-risk situations that are plans that can be developed and implemented, not necessarily as a one-size-fits-all for the entire district, but that will be agile enough and flexible enough to be implemented in various parts of the school district, depending upon the situation,” O’Brien said.