Schools on Prince of Wales Island are moving to partial or full distance learning as cases on the island rise. That’s in contrast to some Ketchikan schools, which are preparing to resume full-capacity classes.
Prince of Wales Island schools
As of Friday, 10 people on Prince of Wales Island had tested positive for COVID-19 in the prior 14 days. A total of eight cases were active on Friday, according to the island’s COVID-19 hotline. School officials use those metrics to determine whether to offer in-person learning.
Klawock City School District announced Friday that students would move to fully online learning for the next week. Craig City School District, which has stricter COVID-19 policies, moved to 100% distance learning Nov. 30.
Many smaller communities served by the Southeast Island School District are also moving to fully online education.
Thorne Bay and Coffman Cove’s schools will run remotely through at least Dec. 10. In Hollis and Nakauti, school will be online through at least Dec. 17.
Students in Kasaan will attend in person for half-days. Whale Pass students will continue to attend all day in person, but they’ll have to wear masks.
Information on Hydaburg School’s upcoming schedule was not immediately available Saturday. The school has run remotely since Nov. 16.
Officials at each Prince of Wales Island school district say meals will continue to be available while students learn remotely.
For more information about COVID-19 cases on Prince of Wales Island, call the COVID-19 hotline at 888-894-1321 to reach a frequently-updated recording from public health nurses.
Meanwhile, Ketchikan High School will remain at 50% capacity Monday and Tuesday. That’s after school district officials announced Friday that two more people associated with the school had tested positive for COVID-19. According to a statement from Superintendent Beth Lougee, as of Friday, a total of six people associated with the school had tested positive in the past week.
Students at the high school were previously set to return to full-capacity classrooms five days a week on Monday. Lougee says the delay is intended to give school district leaders and public health officials time to evaluate the impact of the six new cases.
Revilla Junior-Senior High School and Schoenbar Middle School will resume full-capacity classes Monday as planned, district officials say. And elementary schools will continue to attend in person five days a week, as they have since the beginning of the school year.
Ketchikan’s locally-reported community risk level remains at Level 2, or “moderate,” as of Saturday afternoon.
According to the state’s COVID-19 dashboard, Southern Southeast Alaska returned to “high” alert status last week. That’s after the area’s state-issued alert level briefly fell to “intermediate” in the week after Thanksgiving. As of Saturday, the entire state is at “high” alert status.