The recent increases in COVID-19 cases in Bethel has prompted the Lower Kuskokwim School District to revise its plans. The district has now announced that it will start the school year for Bethel students remotely. The start date for LKSD will remain Aug. 24.
The district said in a press release that the decision was made in consultation with the Yukon-Kuskokwim Health Corporation, following the sharp increase in COVID-19 cases in Bethel last week.
Previously, the district had planned to open all of its schools at a “medium risk” level, which would have meant a mix of in-person and remote learning. LKSD’s press release did not state whether any of the village schools would also move to remote-only learning like Bethel. The district’s goal is to reopen Bethel schools at a medium risk level by Sep. 8, depending on how the number of cases in Bethel changes by then, and in consultation with YKHC.
The school district said that Bethel families can expect further instruction from their child’s school on what remote learning will look like. LKSD Superintendent Kimberly Hankins had previously stated that students at all of its schools could expect an “intranet” network through which students could send files with teachers and video-conference with them. This would not add any cost to the student’s families or interfere with their normal internet data usage. Hankins said that the equipment for that program could be set up sometime in September.