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Nunapitchuk's school year starts remotely due to structural concerns

Katie Basile

School started in the Lower Kuskokwim School District (LKSD) on Aug. 9 and 10, but students in Nunapitchuk haven’t made it back to the classrooms yet. Their school year had to start remotely after a metal ramp at the back of school dislodged from the rear beam and collapsed, revealing rotted wood.

LKSD's Operations Team paid a visit to the school and decided to bring out a structural engineer to to assess the beam and the rest of the school’s foundation. They also decided to hold off on opening the school.

On Monday, Aug. 14, the third day of remote learning, a structural engineer came with a team to Nunapitchuk. The team's preliminary report described the wood rot as very limited in scope.

LKSD Superintendent Kimberly Hankins said that the school will open soon, adhering to the recommendations of the engineering team, and that she appreciated the flexibility of the staff, students, and community as they waited for the important structural assessment to be done.

For now, students have been completing remote packets. Staff members have been making home visits to students and organizing a rotating schedule for in-person learning in classrooms in a separate building.

The Nunapitchuk school has also planned cultural events, such as berry picking, to bring the school’s community together.

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