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Students in Kipnuk return to class after weeks of remote learning


In-person learning resumed Nov. 18 at Chief Paul Memorial School in Kipnuk. It marked the end of remote learning that began on Nov. 2 after the Kipnuk Traditional Council wrote a formal banishment letter to the school’s principal, LaDorothy Lightfoot.

Lower Kuskokwim School District (LKSD) Superintendent Kimberly Hankins said in an email that "students and teachers were happy to see each other and be back in the classroom."

Teachers arrived back in Kipnuk last week. This came three weeks after an apparent conflict between members of the traditional council and Lightfoot, after which LKSD flew her and some teachers out of the village.

When questioned about whether Lightfoot still works for the district, Hankins told KYUK that LKSD is not able to provide information about confidential personnel matters.

Hankins also wrote that, “We appreciate all the efforts, flexibility, and hard work of the [Chief Paul Memorial School] staff and administration over the last few weeks to ensure that students continued to have access to their education. The safety, health, and well-being of our students and staff is and always will be our primary priority.”

The Kipnuk tribal administrator did not immediately respond to a request for comment by phone.

Francisco Martínezcuello is the KYUK News Reporting Fellow and a graduate of UC Berkeley School of Journalism. He is also a veteran of the United States Marine Corps.
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