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
- December 7, 2020 Board of Education SmartStart Plan documents, survey results, etc
- KPBSD 21 Day Thankful Invite with free Sources of Strength Thankfulness journal download
- DHSS COVID-19 resources
- KPBSD COVID-19 risk level dashboard
- KPBSD COVID-19 Hub or covid19.kpbsd.org
- Helpful new flyer: What to Do if You’ve Been Exposed to COVID-19: put your quarantine plan into action