On Feb. 8, the Lower Kuskokwim School District leadership will virtually meet with health officials to discuss when schools can open to in-person learning. LKSD administration and board members will meet with officials from the Yukon-Kuskokwim Health Corporation and the Alaska Division of Public Health on Monday, Feb. 8 at 4 p.m. The meeting is open to the public.
On Feb. 4, Superintendent Kimberly Hankins wrote a letter to parents and students that said LKSD plans to follow the Yukon-Kuskokwim Health Corporation’s recommendation to continue with remote learning until health conditions improve.
YKHC has told schools that they should remain in remote learning until several conditions are met: that YKHC is reporting fewer than 25 cases of COVID-19 per week, that less than 3% of administered tests are coming back positive, and that all local cases can be linked to travel. In January, YKHC announced, on average, over 240 cases per week. Those numbers have been declining in more recent weeks, but are still several times higher than the threshold that YKHC has set for in-person school. As of Jan. 27, YKHC Chief of Staff Dr. Ellen Hodges said that around 12% to 15% of COVID-19 tests were coming back positive.
An online petition has received more than 140 signatures supporting a partial return to in-person school in Bethel. At the last LKSD school board meeting, several parents called for the district to reopen schools after many students failed their classes in the first semester of remote learning.
An earlier version of this story incorrectly stated that the LKSD Work Session on Feb. 8 started at 6 p.m. It actually started at 4 p.m.