KYUK AM

When Can Schools Return To In-Person Classes?

Oct 21, 2020

Someone enters the Nelson Island School in Toksook Bay, Alaska on December 12, 2019. YKHC announced evidence of community spread of COVID-19 in Toksook Bay on Oct. 16, 2020.
Credit Anna Rose MacArthur / KYUK

COVID-19 cases will have to drop dramatically before many Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta schools can return to in-person classes.

Throughout the pandemic, the Yukon-Kuskokwim Health Corporation has been working with school districts in the region to help them decide when and how to move between remote learning and in-person classes. The decision resides with the school district, and the health corporation makes recommendations. So far, districts have followed these recommendations.

Currently, YKHC recommends that communities remain in remote learning until cases drop to less than five cases per 100,000 people, or less than 1% of the people tested for COVID-19 coming up positive for the virus. The region is far above these numbers. 

As of Oct. 20, the region has 37 cases per 100,000 people. As of Oct. 19, the city of Bethel had 464 cases per 100,000 people. As of Oct. 19, over 5% of people receiving COVID tests in the Bethel Census Area were testing positive for the virus. In the Kusilvak Census Area, along the the lower Yukon River, the rate is nearly 20%.

YKHC recommends that communities with no cases or no outbreaks practice a mix of remote learning and in-person classes.