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LKSD Says COVID-19 Mitigation Efforts Are Working, Encourages Parents To Opt In For Testing

Shaun Peter completes a timed tower-building activity at the end of his first day back at school after a year of closures due to the COVID-19 pandemic. School staff members eased students back into school with an assembly over video conference.
Katie Basile

Most schools will likely remain open, according to Lower Kuskokwim School Superintendent Kimberly Hankins. Out of 29 sites in the district, only four are currently in remote learning. Hankins said that for the most part, the school district’s mitigation strategies, especially masking, are working.

“I feel confident that we’ll be able to keep schools open for the most part. We have a community or two that has gone in-person, remote, back to in-person. And I think we’ll continue to see that trend as the pandemic progresses," said Hankins.

Hankins said that it does not appear that students are catching COVID-19 while attending school.

The district has had 10 students test positive for COVID-19 in the school’s testing program; the majority of them were in Bethel. The district offers regular COVID-19 tests in schools, but so far only 35% of Bethel parents have returned permission slips to allow their children to be tested.

“So again, if you are a parent or a guardian listening and you’d like to take advantage of the optional testing program, we certainly encourage you to sign up and your school can provide the permission form to you,” Hankins said. 

A slightly higher percentage of students in village schools are signed up for the COVID-19 testing program.


Johanna Eurich's vivid broadcast productions have been widely heard on National Public Radio since 1978. She spent her childhood speaking Thai, then learned English as a teenager and was educated at a dance academy, boarding schools and with leading intellectuals at her grandparents' dinner table in Philadelphia.
Greg Kim was a news reporter for KYUK from 2019-2022.