Grade 7-12 Onsite Learning Update

How soon will 7-12 grade students return to onsite at-school learning every day?

Good news: the community spread of COVID-19 is continuing to flatten on the Kenai Peninsula, so it appears schools may soon open onsite every day for Grades 7-12. Thank you to everyone for your patience—if you have questions or issues to solve, call your school and talk to your principal, teacher, or school secretary.

When is the earliest possible date Grades 7-12 could resume attending onsite five days a week?

Monday, January 25, 2021, is the earliest possible date for:
Eastern Peninsula (Moose Pass and Seward schools)
Southern Peninsula (Homer area, Nikolaevsk, and Ninilchik schools)

Monday, February 1, 2021, is the earliest possible date for:
Central Peninsula (Kasilof, Kenai, Nikiski, Soldotna, and Sterling area schools) 

On or before January 22, 2021, KPBSD will provide an update with an official announcement.

How will I know when grades 7-12 will be open every day to onsite learning at my school?

Parents, students, and families will receive a message from the district through School Messenger, and schools will also contact their families when this change takes effect. An announcement will be posted on KPBSD.org, the KPBSD mobile app, and on social media. The KPBSD team continues to monitor COVID-19 spread, health care capacity, and ability to staff and operate schools safely. Thank you for your good effort to open schools safely, and keep schools open! Monitor your school risk level on the COVID-19 dashboard.

Links

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January 15, 2021 Update

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Martin Luther King, Jr. Holiday

School Holiday

KPBSD schools* are closed on Monday, January 18, 2021, in observance of the Martin Luther King, Jr. Holiday

*variance: Kachemak-Selo, Nanwalek, Nikolaevsk, Port Graham, Razdolna, and Voznesenka schools will be open on a normal schedule

School calendars

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Two-Hour Delay Start for Moose Pass and Seward schools

►ALERT: KPBSD schools in the Eastern Kenai Peninsula* will open with a TWO HOUR DELAY START on THURSDAY, January 14, 2021, due to weather and road conditions.

If weather and road conditions warrant a full closure for any schools, that announcement will be made about 7:00 AM. If you don’t hear anything, the two-hour delay start remains in effect.

Parents and guardians, if you decide, based on conditions near you to keep your child at home, absences will be excused.

*A two hour delay means that morning buses run two hours later than normal, school begins two hours later than normal, staff arrives at school two hours later than normal, and both morning and afternoon Pre-K sessions are cancelled. The school day ends at the normal time.

*Eastern Peninsula Schools in two-hour delay start on Thursday, January 14, 2021:
Moose Pass School
Seward Elementary
Seward High School
Seward Middle School

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Two-Hour Delay Start for Southern Kenai Peninsula

►ALERT: KPBSD schools in the Southern Peninsula* will open with a TWO HOUR DELAY START on THURSDAY, January 7, 2021, due to weather and road conditions.

100% Remote Learning is also on a two-hour delay start–some staff are teaching from the school and need to safely drive to their worksites.

If weather and road conditions warrant a full closure for any schools, that announcement will be made about 7:00 AM. If you don’t hear anything, the two-hour delay start remains in effect.

All Pre-K sessions—both morning and afternoon–at these schools are cancelled during a two-hour delay start.

Parents and guardians, if you decide, based on conditions near you to keep your child at home, absences will be excused.

*A two hour delay means that morning buses run two hours later than normal, all school begins two hours later than normal, staff arrives at school two hours later than normal, and Pre-K sessions are cancelled. The school day ends at the normal time.

*Southern Peninsula Schools
Chapman School
Connections Homeschool (Homer)
Fireweed Academy
Homer Flex School
Homer High School
Homer Middle School
Kachemak Selo School
McNeil Canyon Elementary School
Nanwalek School
Nikolaevsk School
Ninilchik School
Paul Banks Elementary School
Port Graham School
Razdolna School
Susan B. English School
Voznesenka School
West Homer Elementary School

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Onsite-At-School Option expands on January 11

On January 11, 2021, KPBSD expands the onsite-at-school learning option during High COVID-19 Risk

Soldotna, January 5, 2021—KPBSD Pre-K through 6th grades can attend school onsite, every school day beginning Monday, January 11, 2021, during High COVID-19 Risk. Grades 7-12 will attend onsite two days a week, with a split A/B schedule—schools will be in contact with families to announce the plan they design. When COVID-19 risk levels drop into medium risk*, Grades 7-12 will switch to onsite learning five days a week. The 100% Remote Learning option will continue to be available.
 

Attending school onsite-at-school during high-risk (red) beginning January 11, 2021

  • Pre-K through Grade 6: every day, Monday through Friday. This includes 6th grade at all KPBSD schools
  • Grades 7-12: attend two times a week onsite, with a split schedule
  • School teams may identify additional at-risk or vulnerable students throughout the semester to attend additional time onsite
  • Schools will communicate their plans with students and families. Your patience is appreciated as these schedules are created and shared
  • Previously identified vulnerable students may continue to attend five days a week

These changes begin Monday, January 11, 2021, a week earlier than initially thought. Thank you to everyone for actions to reduce community COVID-19 transmission.

Important:

  • Shift in 2021: Instead of broad regional decisions to extinguish the onsite learning option, the KPBSD district level team will work with individual schools when a positive COVID-19 case occurs in a school requiring student or staff quarantine, or results in staffing shortages. Thus, you may experience only a classroom or specific school shift to the 100% Remote Learning option
  • To keep onsite learning happening and schools open, it is key that everyone follow the plans for health and safety. Thank you for sticking to the KPBSD Symptom Free School protocol
  • Bus transportation is provided on a normal schedule, everyone must wear a face covering, and seating plans will be put in place
  • Monday, January 18, 2021, is a school holiday for most schools, and the January early release date is cancelled

*How will I know when my school switches to Medium COVID-19 Risk operations (Yellow)?

The KPBSD team continues to monitor COVID-19 spread, health care capacity, and ability to staff and operate schools safely. You will receive an alert when a region will shift to medium risk operations—when this happens, all grades (PreK-12) have the option to attend school onsite, every day. Parents and families will receive a message from the district through School Messenger, and schools will also contact their families when this change would be in effect. Monitor your school risk level on the COVID-19 dashboard.

Sports?

Middle and high school sport seasons will open with high-risk mitigation plans and ASAA protocols in place. Fidelity to these measures will ideally allow an entire season to be played without interruption or cancellation.

Enhanced Safety plans

To keep schools safe and the COVID-19 transmission level low in school, these actions must be followed with fidelity at all times:

  • Staff and all ages of students wear a mask at all times
  • Mitigation plans at school sites must be faithfully and fully implemented
  • Pods or cohorts will be in consistent groups
  • 6’ physical distancing needs to occur whenever possible. Physical distance will keep staff and students healthy in school, minimize in-school exposure or transmission, and reduce the number of people who need to quarantine when a positive COVID-19 case occurs
  • Most school facilities are receiving upgrades to their HVAC air handling systems. KPBSD is installing O2 Prime in schools that have large central air handling units (that share air with other rooms in the building). Some areas and older schools do not have central air handling units supplying air to different rooms, and these facilities are being addressed differently as KPBSD continues to implement options for O2 Prime in unit ventilators and small furnaces
  • Enhanced sanitation with electrostatic sanitizer: spraying Electrolytically Generated Hypochlorous Acid (HOCL) is currently occurring at all schools
  • Staff and students: make sure to follow the KPBSD Symptom Free Schools protocol

Links

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COVID-19 and Travel Info for KPBSD staff and students

Kenai Peninsula Borough School District
Staff and Students who travel outside of Alaska

Do you have questions about when you may return to KPBSD work or onsite-at-school learning after travel out of state? This may help:

Based on the State of Alaska Health Order No. 6 effective December 16, 2020:

KPBSD employees and students must observe “Strict Social Distancing*” for five days after arriving back in Alaska, after a COVID-19 test happened within 72 hours of departure back to Alaska, or testing on arrival into Alaska.

  • If staff or students receive a negative test result and are symptom free, they can return to school on day 6. (Arrival day is day 0) Kindly provide your negative test result to the school

  • If someone chooses not to test for COVID-19, they must quarantine for 14 days after arrival in Alaska

  • If staff or students experience any COVID-19 symptoms after arrival at home in Alaska, they should get re-tested

Tip: Children age 10 and under can test, but it is not required. If a child is not tested, they will need to follow the same quarantine or strict social distancing* time as the adult with whom they traveled.
If the child aged 10 and under travels with an adult who received a positive COVID-19 test in the past 90 days and thus does not need to observe strict social distancing or quarantine, and the child is not tested, the child will need to quarantine for 14 days.

Have you received a positive COVID-19 test within 90 days?
The positive test result may also be used in lieu of testing, strict social distancing, or quarantine related to travel

Make sure to review the State of Alaska Travel Information Webpage for residents and non-residents: https://covid19.alaska.gov/travelers/

State Travel FAQs: https://covid19.alaska.gov/faq/

*Strict Social Distancing defined by the State of Alaska (Health Order No. 6, page 5)

  • You may be in an outdoor public place, but you must remain six feet away from anyone not in your immediate household, and you must wear a face covering. You may arrange curbside shopping or have food delivery.
  • You cannot enter restaurants, bars, gyms, community centers, sporting facilities (i.e., ice rinks, gymnasiums, and sports domes), office buildings, and school or daycare facilities. Do not participate in any group activities, including sporting events and practices, weddings, funerals, or other gatherings.
ttps://covid19.alaska.gov/faq/
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KPBSD End of 2020 Update

December 18, 2020

Dear KPBSD staff and families,

“With the dawning of a new year, growing daylight, and a vaccine to help control the spread of the COVID-19 virus, we are planning for a return to more normalcy for our schools in 2021. We are excited for the return of our students to in person onsite learning no later than mid-January, and possibly as soon as January 11, 2021. 2020 has been an extremely difficult year for all of us but I am confident that 2021 will bring with it brighter days and more certainty in our everyday lives. Our dedicated building administrators and staff are busy planning all the details to safely welcome students back into schools. Schools have enhanced mitigation plans and safety measures to ensure that students, staff, and visitors are safe, and that learning for our students will be optimal. Thank you all for your steadfast resilience and dedication to the education, safety, and well-being of KPBSD students, educators, and support staff.”

– Superintendent John O’Brien

Looking ahead

  • Winter break for most KPBSD schools is December 21, 2020-January 1, 2021*

  • School starts Monday, January 4, 2021*
    • Pre-identified groups of students who attend onsite during 100% Remote High Risk may continue to attend onsite. This includes Pre-K, Kindergarten, and Special Education Intensive Needs students

  • Onsite at school options in high risk begin no later than Tuesday, January 19, 2021:
    • Pre-K-6th grade attend everyday
    • Grades 7-12 attend school on a hybrid or A/B schedule. Schools will let students know their schedules

  • By midday on January 5, 2021, an announcement will be made if the onsite, at school option will begin as soon as Monday, January 11, 2021

  • No school on Monday, January 18, 2021—it is a school holiday for most KPBSD schools*

  • No early release day on Wednesday, January 20, 2021
  • Order free meals for pickup the week of January 4, 2021, no later than noon on January 1, 2021

*Some KPSBD schools have variance calendars: Winter break at Nanwalek and Port Graham schools is January 4-15, 2021; Tuesday, January 19, 2021, is a school holiday for K-Selo, Razdolna, and Voznesenka schools, and an inservice day for Nikolaevsk School

Links

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Farewell to Hot-Rod Todd Brewer

“Hot-Rod” Todd Brewer

It is with sadness and heavy hearts that Seward learned of “Hot Rod” Todd Brewer’s death on December 3, 2020.  He never regained consciousness after being intubated for complications from COVID-19. 

He brought infinite joy with his cheesy jokes about rival schools (he especially loved giving Nikiski grief) and professionally printed photos of Seward Seahawks in action.  He made those photos freely available to students and parents and took great pride in the happiness they created.

He loved driving Seward school activity busses. As he drove the bus into the school driveway, he would always say, “Welcome to Seward High where all the kids are above average.”

He was the Seahawks’ biggest fan.  His gentle nature, expertise behind the wheel and camera lens, and the unending love for the students he served will be greatly missed.

Thank you to all for the outpouring of love and support for Todd while he fought for his life.  Please turn that love and support to each other while we grieve his passing.

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Option for more students to attend school onsite in January 2021

News Release

Board of Education approves bringing more students back to onsite learning in high COVID-19 Risk

Soldotna, December 9, 2020—The option to attend school onsite, at-school during high COVID-19 risk levels for students in Pre-K through 6th grade, and middle and high school ages is expanding in 2021, after the Board of Education approved the SmartStart Plan updates at their December school board meeting. The 100% Remote Learning option will continue to be available.

These changes begin no later than Tuesday, January 19, 2021 (Monday is a school holiday).

Estimates indicate the peak of COVID-19 transmission in the KPB is expected to happen in early to mid-January. Based on this information and the timeline needed to retrofit school HVAC systems*, the January 19 date was selected.

12-9-20 important clarification: Pre-K, Kindergarten, and Special Education Intensive Needs students currently attend school onsite during High Risk, and will continue to do so up until winter break starts, and when school resumes January 4, 2021. The change is for Grades 1-12 in January.

Change is coming by January 19, 2021
Attending school onsite-at-school during High COVID-19 Risk levels (Red):

Pre-K through Grade 6: every day, Monday through Friday *this includes 6th grade at all KPBSD schools

Grades 7-12: attend two times a week onsite, with a split schedule

  • School teams may identify additional at-risk or vulnerable students throughout the semester to attend additional time onsite
  • Schools will communicate their plans with students and families. Your patience is appreciated as these schedules are created and shared

Previously identified vulnerable students may continue to attend five days a week

Enhanced Safety Plans

To keep schools safe and the COVID-19 transmission level low in school, these actions must be followed with fidelity at all times:

  • Staff and all ages of students wear a mask at all times
  • Mitigation plans at school sites must be faithfully and fully implemented
  • Pods or cohorts will be in consistent groups
  • 6’ physical distancing needs to occur whenever possible. Physical distance will keep staff and students healthy in school, minimize in-school exposure or transmission, and reduce the number of people who need to quarantine when a positive COVID-19 case occurs
  • *Most school facilities are receiving upgrades to their HVAC air handling systems. KPBSD is currently installing O2 Prime in schools that have large central air handling units (that share air with other rooms in the building). Some areas and older schools do not have central air handling units supplying air to different rooms, and these facilities are being addressed differently as KPBSD continues to implement options for O2 Prime in unit ventilators and small furnaces
  • Enhanced sanitation with electrostatic sanitizer: spraying Electrolytically Generated Hypochlorous Acid (HOCL) is currently occurring at all schools. Custodians can sanitize a classroom in about three minutes and complete approximately three classrooms per tank of HOCL. KPBSD is producing its own HOCL at the district warehouse

Winter break for most KPBSD schools is December 21, 2020 – January 1, 2021, with school starting again January 4, 2021. The updates to operations in High COVID-19 risk will not likely begin until Tuesday, January 19, 2021.

“This is a big step in the right direction with continuing movement towards the goal of getting all kids back at school onsite, full-time. These are trying and uncertain times but together we will get through this pandemic. I am hopeful that with a vaccination on the way, continued adherence to our mitigation plans, and a conscious effort on the part of our community to practice safe pandemic behaviors, we will get this virus under control. I appreciate our Board of Education, district leadership, and the KPBSD staff for their commitment to educate our children while at the same time navigating their own personal response to the pandemic.”

–Superintendent John O’Brien

Links

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High COVID-19 cases cause 34 KPBSD schools to continue 100% remote learning for most students

News Release, Soldotna, November 24, 2020

Kenai Peninsula Borough School District COVID-19 update due to continued COVID-19 community contagion throughout the Kenai Peninsula:

A SmartStart plan update so more students could attend school onsite during High Risk operations will be presented to the KPBSD Board of Education on December 7, 2020

KPBSD Grades 1-12: 100% Remote Learning from home will continue through Friday, December 18, 2020

KPBSD Pre-K, Kindergarten, and Special Education Intensive Needs learners may again return to onsite learning at school beginning Wednesday, December 2, 2020, with greater safety plans in place*
The 100% Remote Learning continues for these groups, through December 1, 2020
Title-I Pre-K will only be offered onsite at school beginning December 2, 2020

Six small schools continue to be open to onsite at school learning in low-risk operations, but could shift to 100% Remote Learning at any time based on COVID-19 risk in the community

Ongoing emphasis: keep staff healthy and out of 14-Day Quarantine, so school instruction and operations can continue uninterrupted

What you can do

Help bring children back to school and resume sports

Leading into the Thanksgiving holiday, High COVID-19 Risk continues in most Kenai Peninsula communities, with an acceleration of people becoming ill occurring. Exposure and transmission is happening in family and friend groups, workplace break rooms, and everyday interactions. Local health care capacity and operations of essential services are closely monitored. Everyone knows the tools to prevent COVID-19 spread, so now is the time to use the tools—especially to wear a mask, physically distance, keep your bubble very small. Limit your actions to plank the curve and shift the trend downwards, so schools can reopen to the onsite at-school learning option for all grades.

Everyone knows the tools to prevent COVID-19 spread, so now is the time to use the tools—especially to wear a mask, physically distance, and keep your bubble very small.

November Timeline Review

  • KPBSD shifted to 100% Remote Learning for all students following Governor Dunleavy’s November 12, 2020, plea to hunker down through November and bend the rise of positive COVID-19 back down in Alaska
  • On November 24, 2020, after assessment of positive cases, health care capacity, and input from the KPBSD medical advisory board, Remote Learning from home is extended for KPBSD 1-12 Grades, through December 18, 2020
  • Winter break for most KPBSD schools is December 18-January 4, 2021 (school calendars)
  • Data demonstrates that schools can be safe when mitigation plans are always followed, and class sizes are small. Plans continue to bring more students back to school during High Risk operations

Links

*Specific information for Pre-K, Kindergarten, and Special Education Intensive Needs learners

To keep schools safe and the COVID-19 transmission level low in school, these actions must be followed with fidelity at all times:

  • NEW: Staff and all students (PreK and older) must wear a mask at all times
  • Mitigation plans at school sites need to be implemented with fidelity
  • Cohorts need to be fixed groups, and maintained at all times
  • 6’ physical distancing with staff-to-staff needs to occur at all times, especially in break rooms and common areas. This is not time to relax this directive; physical distance will keep staff healthy in school, and minimize in-school exposure or transmission

School staff will contact Pre-K, K, and Intensive Needs families to talk about school resuming onsite again on December 2, 2020. The COVID-19 risk level remains very high with widespread community transmission, so individual family circumstances may require a family to choose to continue with 100% Remote Learning Note: an immediate shift to 100% Remote could occur at any time if a positive case, or transmission at school occurs, and requires 14-Day Quarantine, staffing shortage, or school closure.

100% Remote Learning
Central Peninsula Schools
Central Kenai Peninsula includes Kasilof to Sterling, extending through Kenai, Nikiski, Soldotna, and DHSS “other north” communities. Cooper Landing is not included in the 17 Central Peninsula schools:

  • Aurora Borealis Charter School
  • Kaleidoscope Charter School
  • K-Beach Elementary School
  • Kenai Alternative School
  • Kenai Central High School
  • Kenai Middle School
  • Mountain View Elementary School
  • Nikiski Middle-High School
  • Nikiski North Star Elementary School
  • Redoubt Elementary School
  • River City Academy
  • Skyview Middle School
  • Soldotna Elementary School
  • Soldotna High School
  • Soldotna Montessori Charter School
  • Sterling Elementary School
  • Other North: Tustumena Elementary School



Eastern Kenai Peninsula Schools

  • Moose Pass School
  • Seward High School
  • Seward Middle School
  • William H. Seward Elementary

Southern Kenai Peninsula Schools

  • Chapman School
  • Fireweed Academy
  • Homer Flex School
  • Homer High School
  • Homer Middle School
  • Kachemak Selo School
  • McNeil Canyon Elementary School
  • Nikolaevsk School
  • Ninilchik School
  • Paul Banks Elementary School
  • Razdolna School
  • Voznesenka School
  • West Homer Elementary School


Small schools are open to onsite learning in low risk
Six small KPBSD schools in Cooper Landing, Hope, Nanwalek, Port Graham, Seldovia, and Tebughna will also continue to operate in low COVID-19 risk, and offer both 100% Remote and onsite-at-school learning options. A shift to 100% Remote Learning could happen at any time if there is positive COVID-19 in these communities.

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