Monday evening the Kenai Peninsula Borough School District announced that 13 Southern Peninsula Schools were moving to 100 percent remote learning today (October 20). The reason: rising COVID-19 case counts in the area have pushed the South Peninsula up to the high risk “red” category in the district’s ratings matrix.
The school district leadership and KPBSD Medical Advisory Team reviewed the positive count of cases in the Southern Kenai Peninsula, the rising seven-day trend, information from the Public Health Service and local providers, and determined the increase merited immediate action.
Superintendent John O’Brien said in an online post that despite its mitigation plans, the school district has seen “an exponential growth of positive cases in schools this past week.” O’Brien said he hopes the move will slow the spread of the virus, so that schools can reopen as soon as is safely possible. He acknowledged and apologized for the strain the closures “put on families, students, staff, and businesses in an already stressful pandemic.”
Schools transitioning to 100 percent remote learning today include Homer High School, Homer Middle, Homer Flex, West Homer Elementary, Fireweed Academy, and Paul Banks.
McNeil Canyon Elementary closed its doors last week (October 12) to allow time for contact tracing after a positive COVID-19 test was confirmed at the school.
According to a district blog (https://communications.blogs.kpbsd.k12.ak.us/), KPBSD schools in Nanwalek, Port Graham, and Susan B. English in Seldovia are considered individually, and remain open to onsite at-school learning at this time.
The school district urges residents to continue exercising caution and good sense in regards to the national pandemic that has gripped the world since March. They ask that you limit your errands and exposure to crowded places and remember the 3 W’s: wear a mask, watch your distance and wash your hands.
The remote learning mandate in the Southern Kenai Peninsula will last a minimum of the of this week.