Seward Elementary shifts to 100% Remote Learning on 9/28/20 and 9/29/20

September 25, 2020

Communication to Seward Elementary staff and families. Principal Haskins will send a message via School Messenger on Saturday, September 26, 2020.

Dear Seward Elementary students, parents, and staff,

Friday evening September 25, 2020, we learned a second student or staff member at Seward Elementary School has been diagnosed with COVID-19, and as members of the school community, we understand that this raises care and concerns.

To complete contact tracing and allow for additional cleaning, the entire school will shift to 100% Remote Learning September 28 and 29, 2020.

Throughout the weekend we will work with public health to assess any interactions in the time period the person was connected with school, and everyone who is determined to be a close contact will be called personally.

9/25/20, 10:30 PM: The shift to 100% Remote Learning is only for Seward Elementary at this time.

Two or more positive cases in a school is defined as an outbreak. Each case of COVID-19 is interviewed by public health, and our team.

We will be in communication with you with further information as it becomes available, and announce late Monday, or Tuesday morning, if we will reopen on Wednesday, or extend the 100% Remote Learning.

As part of this public health investigation and contact tracing at school, and based on CDC guidance and Alaska DHSS protocols:

  • Everyone diagnosed with COVID-19 is kept home from school until they are no longer infectious.
  • The person’s activities when they could have spread COVID-19 will be assessed.
  • The people who were close contacts of the person with COVID-19 are instructed to stay home from school for 14 days after the exposure. This is called quarantine and there is no way to test out of a 14-day quarantine when someone is identified as a close contact.

KPBSD honors HIPAA and FERPA privacy laws, so the identity of a student or employee will not be revealed by the school or KPBSD, unless permission is given to do so.

If you have questions, kindly contact Principal Alan Haskins, or our public health agency at 907-335-3400.

You can find specific information for the Kenai Peninsula Borough School District on our dedicated COVID-19 in KPBSD Hub webpage that includes communication updates, safety protocols, 2020 Smart Start Plan, sports and activities, risk levels on the Kenai Peninsula, and the COVID19 Confirmed Case in School Response Matrix.

Seward High School sporting events are cancelled on Saturday, September 26, 2020.

“Friday evening we learned that Seward Elementary has had more than one confirmed case of COVID-19 within a three day time frame. This is defined as an outbreak in a school, causes a shift to 100% remote learning at Seward Elementary for at least Monday and Tuesday next week, in an effort to ensure thorough contact tracing and cleaning of the school will be conducted. Given the small size of the Seward community and out of an abundance of precaution, this weekend’s sporting events in Seward have been cancelled and Seward teams that were scheduled to travel and compete in away events have been kept home. I know our athletes will be disappointed, and I ask for everyone’s support and understanding.”

–Superintendent John O’Brien
Posted in School Stories by Pegge Erkeneff. No Comments

Celebrate Ms. Jennifer Booz, Fulbright Distinguished Award

Homer Middle School educator is going to Finland!

Jennifer Booz of Homer Middle School in Homer, Alaska, has been selected for the Fulbright Distinguished Awards in Teaching Research (Fulbright DA) Program to Finland, a program sponsored by the U.S. Department of State and the J. William Fulbright Foreign Scholarship Board.

Booz is one of approximately 22 U.S. citizens who will travel to 10 countries around the world in spring 2021 on the Fulbright DA Program. Recipients of Fulbright grants are selected on the basis of academic and professional achievement, as well as record of service and demonstrated leadership potential. Learn more about the Fulbright Program, a the flagship international educational exchange program sponsored by the U.S government, and created to increase mutual understanding and build lasting connections between the people of the United States and the people of other countries.

In her words…

Education is evolving, especially in 2020! What most intrigues you?

The world is becoming increasingly connected both to itself and to information. Gone are the days when the teacher imparted all knowledge onto students, revealing the mysteries of the universe. Beyond the critical skills of reading and writing, it will no longer be appropriate to teach facts and ask for recall. Students have this information at their fingertips. Educators would be foolish to not evolve along with our students. I see the role of education and teachers evolving into that of a guide and interpreter. I would love to see a teacher pose questions or present students with phenomena which is then explored. Teachers and students would then work together to sift through the vast amounts of information and students would learn the skills needed to navigate this new world. I am also interested in developing more ways for classroom students to feel empowered to make things happen in their community. I want students to realize they have a powerful voice, and take what they learn in school to use it.

Wow! What does receiving the Fulbright Award evoke in you?         

I feel both thrilled and terrified. This is a very prestigious award and I want to be sure to do my best during my fellowship to show I am worthy of this honor. I know I will be in the company of people far smarter and more accomplished than myself and look forward to collaborating with and learning from them. I am also very much looking forward to being a student again. I have so much to learn from the courses I will take and from the Finnish teachers I will be working with.

In retrospect, do you have guidance for your younger self?

I have always wanted to study and live abroad. For many reasons, this never happened during high school and college. Since then, it has seemed a far off dream that would never happen. I think I would tell myself, “Stick with it. Keep working hard, push yourself out of your comfort zone, keep learning and trying to improve yourself, and never let your work become stagnant.” Even after 17 years of teaching, I feel I have so much to learn. I want my younger self to know it will be worth it one day!

I hope my future self can tell me that my Fulbright experience was a life-changing one. I want to know I took full advantage of all the opportunities given me, embraced the culture, and made new friends and colleagues. I want to hear that it will be challenging but entirely worth it. (Oh, and I want to know that COVID-19 doesn’t interfere with the program by shutting down countries again!)

What’s a favorite aspect to your work each day?

If last spring and remote teaching taught me anything, it is that students are my favorite aspect of my work day. Middle schoolers are goofy and weird and hormonal and smart. My daily interactions, from hallway banter to engaging them in science learning, keep me going through the not so fun stuff.

With no limits, what is your dream three-to-six month professional learning experience you’d like to pursue?

I am doing it! The Fulbright DA is the ultimate in professional learning experiences for teachers. It combines living and studying abroad with high level learning and professional development. When choosing my host country, Finland stood out for a few reasons. First, their education system is generally regarded as being the best in the world. I want to learn from the best. Also, in 2016, Finland implemented a country-wide curriculum reform which, among many things, mandates Phenomenon-Based Learning (PBL) in all schools. PBL is near and dear to my heart so I hope to learn from Finnish teachers about best practices in PBL in hopes of bringing them back to my classroom in Alaska.

“Jen is a student centered teacher who always puts her students’ needs above her own. She is always at the cutting edge of embracing innovated instructional practices and is an amazing role model for her students. She will represent KPBSD wonderfully in this Fulbright experience and I am certain that when she returns her students and colleagues will also benefit from this amazing learning experience.”

John O’Brien, Superintendent of Schools

“Ms. Jennifer Booz is an exceptional physical science teacher who consistently represents her colleagues in leadership roles, and continually strives to further improve herself professionally. For the last seven years as the Homer Middle School principal, I have been fortunate to supervise Jennifer in her position as the eighth grade science teacher. Our school is located in a small coastal town at the end of the road in Homer Alaska, has a student body of approximately 200 seventh and eighth grade students from a high diversity of families and cultures including Alaska natives, commercial fishermen, and oil and gas industries. Jennifer’s physical science curriculum routinely incorporates community engagement including local scientists from a broad range of disciplines and teaches physical sciences through local relevant and current topics. Jennifer has been teaching middle school science for 14 years covering a variety of topics within science from engineering to the scientific method to design and modeling. Jennifer’s students are consistently engaged in high-level thinking and rigorous learning activities. Her ability to establish rapport and connect with the students, which has resulted in, improved student self-motivation. Jennifer continually refines her practices and in my opinion, this has benefited our student’s learning and academic achievements.”

Homer Middle School Principal Kari Dendurent

Congratulations Ms. Jennifer Booz!

Ms. Krista Etzwiler awarded Golden Apple

Ms. Krista Etzwiler, West Homer Elementary School Teacher
Kenai Peninsula Borough School District
Golden Apple Award | September 14, 2020

“Providing art opportunities for kids brings me joy. I like to think big and long-lasting so that everyone’s efforts can be enjoyed by many people for a long time.”

–Ms. Krista Etzwiler

There is no official art teacher at West Homer Elementary; rather, classroom teachers deliver art instruction to their students regardless of experience. Ms. Krista Etzwiler has been a leader in the school building in this curricular area by taking on the undefined role of Art Educator. On her own initiative, she supports her peers in their professional development in art instruction, envisions and mobilizes school-wide art projects, volunteers to coordinate the Artist in Residence program, volunteers to plan the whole school Art Faire, and volunteers on the Site Council.

Principal Eric Waltenbaugh describes her contributions: “The projects she initiates at West Homer Elementary contribute to the vibrant creative school culture and enhance the overall educational environment. As part of the Site Council, she participated in the creation of the entryway mural in the foyer of the building that aligns with our mission statement. Also, as a Site Council project she spearheaded the creation of positive message posters that are displayed in all the bathrooms in the building. Each year she volunteers to coordinate our Artist in Residence program working tirelessly on ensuring all students and adults in the building benefit from this yearly experience. She seeks out and vets candidates, collaborates with artists to meet our needs, and coordinates with teachers. Every three years we put on an Art Faire and she takes it upon herself to coordinate this school-wide show for the community. She has an eye for making these experiences interactive for both students and the public, finding creative ways to engage families. One year she experimented with QR codes where students recorded their artist statements and so when parents moved through the displays in the school, they could access the student audio statements by scanning the codes with their phones. She also designed critical thinking sheets students and community used to explore and think about the artistic elements present in the student work.

After the City of Homer put in a cement retaining wall on Soundview Avenue facing the school, it did not take long for Krista to see the opportunity to collaborate with local agencies to garner support for creating an installation that fit with the school and involved everyone in it. In addition to the wall, she worked on a matching painted cement sign. In the process she discovered there was power to the sign and was able to get it lighted once again. And, in true Krista spirit, she took it one step further to get strings of lights to adorn the five spruce trees at the entry to our campus. On dark winter days, it is a joy to tum in to the school and see the festive lights and colorful sign.

We instituted a campus beautification day during the final short week of the school year where classes engaged in projects to beautify the school grounds. Krista got a number of classes involved in painting the concrete light post bases on the ground in various coordinated colors to match the building, retaining wall mural, and West Homer Elementary sign. Her efforts are visible throughout the West Homer Elementary building and grounds, and her energy and support of her colleagues in their art instruction has improved student skills, enjoyment, and understanding of the arts.

The Kenai Peninsula Borough School District Board of Education is proud to recognize Ms. Krista Etzwiler for her dedication to the students of the school district, past, present, and future.

Ms. Judy Cox awarded Golden Apple

Ms. Judy Cox, Substitute Teacher
Kenai Peninsula Borough School District
Golden Apple Award | September 14, 2020

In 1988, Ms. Judy Cox started her career in education, and after her retirement, continued doing what she loves as a substitute teacher.

“For 32 years she has been inspiring, delighting, and educating students as a kindergarten teacher, first grade teacher, librarian, and an amazing substitute. Ms. Cox is also known as the Book Lady and her love of reading inspired her to collect and give away books in the community. In the summer, you can find her at the end of her driveway, with piles of books, eager to share with any and everyone who passes by. Ms. Cox has blesses the lives of educators, students, administrators, and parents (many who are former students), and continues to do so with endless energy and a true love for teaching.”

–Nominator Kim Bates, Mountain View Elementary educator

Third grade teacher Catherine Lyon said, “When called upon, Judy is up for long term subbing, one day subbing, and in the middle of the night emergency subbing. She makes sure that she is there, ready for the students, no matter what is happening in the classroom.”  “Judy makes it a point to know everyone’s name and greet them with enthusiastic familiarity,” said Catherine Mendenhall, Behavioral Support Teacher. “She has taught all of my children in various long-term substitute assignments, and keeps up with me about their news, taking a huge personal investment in my family. In fact, she makes me feel like part of her family whenever I see her in the hallways.”

Music teacher Jonathan Dillon shares, “Ms. Cox has a kind heart and is innovative in the ways that she approaches and supports students—maybe this kiddo needs some encouragement, that kiddo needs a smile, and this one just needs to move their body while she plays the ukulele!” Donna Anderson, third grade teacher says, “When I grow up, I want to be just like Judy. She is a role model, for children and adults.” Fourth grade teacher Dave Daniel adds, “She exudes a love for learning in all that she does, and has an amazingly versatile tool kit for her subbing jobs. Judy handles guest teaching from preschool to high school, but I believe her favorite is elementary age. She takes the children to faraway places in stories or in songs, as well as works out those math problems they don’t get.” Sienna Griggs, fifth grade teacher said, “In the five years I have known her, she has never approached me in the hall without a smile or funny story. She goes out of her way to make our staff and students laugh and enjoy our days.”

Donna Schneiders, kindergarten teacher said, “My kids get so excited when they find out that Judy will be my sub that they start to jump up and down and scream!” Bill Vedders, third grade teacher said, “I met Judy my first year in Alaska when I was force transferred to a kindergarten teaching position at Redoubt Elementary. Having never taught kindergarten before, I was a bit distressed. The district gave me a few days to visit each kindergarten room so I wouldn’t be a total stranger when kids were yanked from their beloved teachers to be in my room. Judy set me at ease immediately, and it was abundantly evident that this lady, surrounded by more Mickey Mouse memorabilia than I thought existed, had a deep and sincere love for her children. I heard that Ms. Cox will be retiring again, this time from subbing. Thank goodness that was just fake news, and Judy will still be back in the classroom spreading the love of reading and learning wherever she goes!”

Second grade teacher Lyndi Miller said, “She has completed two long-term subbing positions for me while I was on maternity leave. I had peace of mind while Judy was in my classroom during long-term subbing, knowing that my students were getting a non-disrupted education with continued curriculum and also residing in a nurturing, happy environment. She has a real knack for understanding child development and engaging children to keep them excited to learn.” Nicole Cunningham, fourth grade teacher says, “She comes in on her own time to help other subs, students, and staff. Ms. Cox works hard to build strong, loving relationships with the whole school and truly embodies what a passion for teaching looks like.”

“Having a substitute teacher often disrupts a child’s rhythm at school, and this is not the case with Judy. She subs so often in our school—she never declines—that students know and love her like their regular teacher. Her day subbing usually starts with her playing the ukulele and singing You are My Sunshine with her students. At the end, she asks Who loves you? And students loudly reply, You do! They love to see her and greet her in the hall with smiles even when she is not their sub for the day. I love to see her in the hall as well, to get my own personal smile and pick me up conversation, a dose of Judy so to speak. She volunteers on a regular basis for all kinds of events, loves kids, and she loves to help.”

Principal Karl Kircher, Mountain View Elementary School

The Kenai Peninsula Borough School District Board of Education is proud to recognize Ms. Judy Cox for her dedication to the students of the school district, past, present, and future.

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Posted in Awards by Pegge Erkeneff. 2 Comments

FREE meals for KPBSD students through the end of 2020

News Release: FREE School breakfast and lunch meals for students enrolled in KPBSD onsite or 100% remote learning options

9/18/20 UPDATE: KPBSD Connections Homeschool students are now eligible for FREE meal program! Pickup is once-a-week, the same as the 100% Remote Learning Option students.*

The Kenai Peninsula Borough School District is thrilled to assist families, and provide FREE meals to students through December 31, 2020, or until USDA funds are depleted. This benefit is for students who attend school onsite or via 100% remote learning with their KPBSD school. Plus, it is retroactive to the beginning of the school year in August, so any purchased meals between August 24 and September 18, 2020, will be refunded to student accounts.

What do you need to do to receive free meals?
Nothing. Meals are free at KPSBD schools that provide breakfast and-or lunch.

Important action:
Everyone can help funding to the school district when they complete an online application for Free and Reduced Meals by October 1, even if they won’t use the benefit. This data determines significant federal benefits to KPBSD, and qualifies communities for federal funds.

Online Application: Parents or guardians must reapply each year for free or reduced meal benefits

Parents are encouraged to continue filling out 2020-2021 meal applications so they will not be dropped from the meal program on October 6, 2020, and will have benefits when the free meal program is discontinued. This year, all applications will be accepted online through the new state portal at If someone does not have access to the internet, each school will have a few paper applications in the school office.

Get It and Go Meals will be provided to families who choose 100% Remote Learning with their KPBSD School, and available for pickup once a week at the school. Preorder meals by 12:00 each Friday for the following week pickup on Wednesday. If a KPBSD school shifts to high COVID19 risk and becomes 100% Remote, all students will also be able to receive Get It and Go Meals.

Homeschool students are not eligible for Get It and Go Meals, or the free meal program.

Complete the simple online sign-up for lunch and breakfast meals. If you do not have access to the internet, call KPBSD Student Nutrition Services at 907-714-8890.
100% Remote Learning Students and Connections Homeschool students pickup is once a week: Wednesday from 10:00-10:30 AM

Student Nutrition Services website

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action: Support for Borough Assembly Resolution 2020-061

Education Funding Action
Contact your Borough Assembly representative, or testify 9-15-20, 6:00 PM Assembly Meeting

ACTION: On 9-15-20, request Assembly Members support of Kenai Peninsula Borough Resolution 2020-061 “Resolution in Support of the State’s Use of Estimated Student Count Data to fund K-12 Education for Fiscal Year 2021”

  • cause: Decline in projected KPBSD student school enrollment due to COVID-19 global pandemic in the 2020-2021 school year

  • effect: without “Hold Harmless” the enrollment decline creates a potential loss of already budgeted $2,361,550 (est. 9-8-20) from State of Alaska education funding to KPBSD

  • solution: State of Alaska can “Hold Harmless” school district funding, creating a safe harbor for FY21 education funding in the year of COVID-19


The school district Board of Education adopted Resolution 20-20-21 on August 3, 2020, and conveyed it to Kenai Peninsula legislators. KPBSD Board of Education Resolution to support the State’s use of estimated student count data to fund K-12 Public Education for FY21

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Posted in Budget by Pegge Erkeneff. No Comments

KPBSD Seeks Substitutes!

Begin at the “Substitutes” tab on the KPBSD website

Do you have time and interest to be a substitute in a KPBSD school? It takes a village!

KPBSD Seeks Substitutes—all types of positions are needed!

You choose when you say, “Yes, I can work!”
Teachers: certified and non-certified; Aides; Instructional Assistants; Secretaries and clerical positions; Custodians; Interpreters; Nurses; Pool Employees; Activity Bus Drivers

Can your neighborhood school recruit YOU?

Substitute wages were increased at the June 2020 Board of Education Meeting to be competitive with the other school districts.

Substitute Positions Rate of Pay
Teacher (Certified) $150.00 per day (based on 8 hour day)
Teacher (Non-Certified) $130.00 per day (based on 8 hour day)
Secretary (all clerical) $13.00/hr.
Custodian/Stock Handler/Theater Crew $13.00/hr
Deaf Ed. Interpreter (Certified/Licensed) $20.00/hr.
Food Service Cashier/Kitchen Assistant/Cook/Manager $13.00/hr.
Aide/Instructional Assistant $13.00/hr.
Tutor/Bilingual Instructor $13.00/hr.
Nurse $20.00/hr.
Temporary Positions Rate of Pay
Pool Employees Instructor/Senior Lifeguard $15.00/hr.
Junior Lifeguard/Cashier $13.00/hr.
Temporary Worker Temporary employee’s salary placement must be pre-approved by Human Resources prior to start date minimum wage* – $15.00/hr.
Activity Bus Driver   Two times the Alaska minimum wage**

New Training Opportunity!

  • KPBSD offers one day of on the job training as soon as a substitute has completed requirements to be hired
  • Be paid while shadowing an employee currently in the position for which you may be substituting for!
  • Contact the administrator of the school or schools that you are interested in substituting at for more information. Link to School Directory

Your Future!

Substituting in the KPBSD is a great way to be ready when a permanent position opens!

Apply Online

Begin at the “Substitutes” tab on the KPBSD website

Posted in KPBSD District Stories by Pegge Erkeneff. No Comments

Parents and Guardians: Prepare for a positive COVID-19 case in a school

link: COVID-19 in KPBSD Web Hub

Dear KPBSD Parents and Guardians,

This letter will help your family prepare should our school district or your school have a COVID-19 event occur. An event could be a positive COVID-19 case, outbreak (two or more positive cases in a school) or exposure to COVID-19 in a school. The health and safety of our students, staff, and families is our top priority.

Letter templates for if or when there is positive COVID-19 case exposure or spread in a KPBSD school

KPBSD works closely with local public health officials and they will provide support and direction to manage every COVID-19 related scenario that affects our school communities. If or when a COVID-19 event occurs related to your school, you will receive information via the usual school and district communication methods. Depending upon the situation and response needed by you, the contact may come via a phone call, email, alert, or general notification.

KPBSD honors HIPAA and FERPA privacy laws, so your name and your child’s name will not be revealed by the school, unless you give the school permission to do so. A dedicated webpage at is where to find the most up to date information.

If your child receives a positive COVID-19 test result, and they have been at school two days prior to the onset of symptoms, or the testing date that resulted in a positive test result, it will be helpful to begin contact tracing at their school immediately. So, we need your help when you learn of a positive COVID-19 test result for your child. Call Nurse Iris, KPBSD Nursing Supervisor to confidentially report a positive COVID-19 test result. You can reach her at 907-260-2391, Alternately, call your school nurse or administrator.

It is important for everyone in our community to protect themselves against the remarkably contagious novel coronavirus. These are some ways to protect your family:

  • Symptom Free School Protocol: keep children who are sick at home—do not send them to school

  • Teach your children to wash hands with soap and water for 20 seconds, and set a good example by doing this yourself

  • Teach children to cover coughs and sneezes with a tissue or by coughing into the inside of their elbow, Be sure to set a good example by doing this yourself

  • Time and distance: teach your children to protect your family bubble or their school cohort, and practice physical distancing of about six feet away from others

  • Mask up with a cloth face covering when appropriate, especially indoors in crowded public places, on the school bus, and in school hallways. Grades 3 and older in the KPBSD wear a mask at school when six foot physical distancing is not possible

When you have COVID-19 related questions, contact your school nurse, healthcare provider, local public health department, or visit the state DHSS or national CDC websites. You can find specific information for the Kenai Peninsula Borough School District on our dedicated COVID-19 in KPBSD Hub webpage that includes communication updates, safety protocols, 2020 Smart Start Plan, sports and activities, risk levels on the Kenai Peninsula, and the COVID19 Confirmed Case in School Response Matrix. Your school is always available to help, or you can reach out to the school district COVID-19 line at 907-714-8864, email, or visit

This year will require adaption, a flexible mindset, and we will get through this with both challenges and blessings. We promise to communicate often, be proactive and swiftly reactive when necessary, even when we do not have all the answers. Superintendent John O’Brien reminds us, “We will focus on and provide for the social, emotional, and mental health needs of our students, staff, parents, and community. I have no doubt that together we will not only get through this new school year but will also hopefully become more resilient and empathetic to the needs of others.”

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KPBSD Update: Schools open in Central Peninsula | Labor Day Holiday

September 2, 2020

Dear KPBSD staff and families,

“Thank you to everyone who is doing your part to keep schools open by practicing physical distancing, wearing a facemask when needed, and for frequent hand washing. You are making a difference. Let us not let our collective guard down! Have a safe holiday weekend!”

– Superintendent John O’Brien

Tuesday, September 8, 2020, schools throughout the central peninsula* will open to welcome students to onsite, at school learning!
The COVID-19 risk levels have dropped in the central peninsula area, so after evaluating 14 day positive COVID-19 case counts, 7 day trends, consultation with the KPBSD COVID-19 Medical Risk Level Advisory Team and Public Health, everyone can plan for schools* to open!

School Start and End Times

Visit the new KPBSD COVID-19 risk level dashboard with daily updates.

*Central Peninsula Schools will open on Tuesday, September 8, 2020, to onsite at school learning. The 100% Remote Learning option also continues.

Central Kenai Peninsula includes Kasilof to Sterling, extending through Kenai, Nikiski, Soldotna, and DHSS “other north” communities

  • 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

Calendar change: the two Early Release days for students in September and October are cancelled.

Happy Labor Day!

Monday, September 7, 2020, is a holiday, and KPBSD schools and district offices are closed.



Posted in KPBSD District Stories by Pegge Erkeneff. 1 Comment

Weekly update: Symptom Free School Protocols, risk levels, meals, photos

KPBSD Weekly Update: August 26, 2020

“During this first week of school, I have heard countless positive stories from our staff about how excited they are to have students back and begin a new school year. I am closely watching each day as DHSS releases COVID-19 case counts, and am pleased with how the Central Peninsula has been trending the past few days.

I am hopeful that we will be able to open our Central Peninsula schools to in-person onsite learning on Tuesday September 8, 2020, if these encouraging trends continue. Thank you for your patience and commitment to education on the Kenai Peninsula.” –Superintendent John O’Brien

New Risk Level Data Dashboard by school, geographical area, and 14 day positive case count is live, and updated automatically, every day! The need to make rational and informed operational decisions is primary for the health and safety of schools. KPBSD incorporates science-based guidance to assist in decision-making processes. Learn more at the KPBSD and COVID19 risk level webpage. Tip: visit and bookmark the new data dashboard.

What is the Symptom-Free School Protocol for students and staff?

The purpose of this protocol is to provide a learning environment that is as free of illness as possible, so students and staff of all health levels can participate in school without fear. By extension, this will also promote the safety, health and welfare of our communities. This applies to students, staff, parents and guardians, volunteers, and any school visitors.

Parents and Guardians: check your child’s temperature every morning before sending them to school. Ask your child how they feel before determining if they should be sent to school.

When to Stay Home from School

Stay home if:

  • You have active vomiting or diarrhea
  • You have fever, chills, generalized body aches. (Fever threshold will constitute 100.0 degrees Fahrenheit or higher without use of fever-reducing medication like Tylenol or Ibuprofen.)
  • If you have any other COVID-19 symptoms: fever, cough, shortness of breath, chills, shaking with chills, muscle pain, runny or stuffy nose, headache, sore throat, new loss of taste or smell.
    • Parent, guardian, or individual should call their health care provider or Public Health first for guidance regarding presenting symptoms and possible testing for COVID-19
  • You are taking the first 24 hours of antibiotic treatment
  • You have an undiagnosed, new and, or, untreated rash or skin condition
  • If you have traveled outside Alaska or returned in the last 14 days and have not yet completed the state-required quarantine and, or, testing protocol

When to Return to School After Illness

  • If you have been tested and are diagnosed with COVID19, you may return to school no sooner than 10 days after the onset of symptoms, or the date you took the test that was returned positive, whichever is earlier, and you have been symptom free for 24 hours without medication
  • If you have COVID19-like symptoms but choose not to be tested, you may return to school no sooner than 10 days after the onset of symptoms AND you must be fever-free for 24 hours without taking any medicine to reduce the fever AND you must be free of cough, cold, or other symptoms for 24 hours, without taking medication to reduce symptoms
  • If you have COVID19-like symptoms, are tested and receive a negative result, you may provide the test result and return to school 24 hours after you have been symptom-free with no medication
  • If you have symptoms and visit a doctor who determines your symptoms are caused by something else besides COVID19, you can provide a doctor’s note and return to school 24 hours after you have been symptom free with no medication
  • If you feel the symptoms were caused by a chronic problem, such as allergies, please consult your school nurse. Your doctor may be able to provide an order with an alternate diagnosis. However, your child will still have to be symptom-free before returning to school


If you have a first day of school photo to share in the KPBSD 2020-2021 Social Photo Album, email it to!