It’s not even Halloween yet, but Ketchikan’s school board is already thinking about Christmas. But it’s not decorations and presents on district officials’ minds — it’s the impact of holiday-related travel.
After students and staff return from the two-week break in January, many will likely need to quarantine and await COVID-19 test results to ensure the virus stays out of school buildings. In a brief phone interview, Superintendent Beth Lougee says Wednesday’s discussion will focus on how to make sure schools have adequate staff, and that students who have to stay home after traveling are still able to participate in classwork.
In other business, the board will consider three policy revisions. Those wouldn’t make substantial changes — they’d just clean up some language.
For example: on school buses, students are currently required to “submit to the authority of the driver.” Under the revised policy, bus riders would instead be required to “follow the directions of the driver.” Another tweak would replace the phrase “handicapped students” with “students with disabilities.”
Also up for debate at Wednesday’s school board meeting are two contracts: one for a $29,500 battery backup for one of the district’s server rooms and another $40,125 agreement with Alaska Pest Management to disinfect school buildings once a week.
Finally, the school board will discuss the possibility of recognizing Ketchikan’s first inhabitants at the beginning of each meeting. Ketchikan’s City Council recently voted to start its meetings with a tribal land acknowledgment. The school board is scheduled to discuss whether to follow suit, but it isn’t expected to vote on the idea Wednesday.
Wednesday’s meeting is the last for two school board members: Tom Heutte and Leslie Becker. Ketchikan’s Borough Assembly is expected to certify the results of the Oct. 6 election Tuesday.
Ketchikan’s school board meets at 6 p.m. Wednesday in the White Cliff Building at 1900 First Avenue. The meeting is also broadcast on local cable channels and live-streamed at the borough’s website. Residents can offer their comments at the beginning and end of the meeting.