Ketchikan’s school district is planning to start the school year without a mask mandate or other COVID-19 restrictions. The district’s COVID-19 mitigation plan is up for public comment at Wednesday’s school board meeting.
The plan outlines mask requirements, visitor restrictions and other anti-COVID measures at four risk levels. Superintendent Michael Robbins’ plan is to start the year at the lowest risk level, so masks will be optional, visitors are welcome and there are no restrictions on school sports or activities. The superintendent has the power to impose mask mandates and other restrictions “if COVID cases in an individual school building hinder that building’s ability to serve students.”
Robbins says the district is required to put its COVID-19 plan up for public comment to meet state education department requirements.
“We’re just going to continue the policy that we believe worked last spring, and there’s really no reason to change it at this point,” Robbins said by phone Tuesday.
The board is not scheduled to hold a vote on the COVID-19 plan, which was last revised after a 4-3 school board vote in February.
In other business, the board is scheduled to take the first of two votes on a revised attendance policy. The revision would require teachers to allow students to make up work they missed during an absence that wasn’t excused by a caregiver or family member.
“What we don’t want to do is hold kids back because a family member didn’t have a chance to call in to make up the work. And so all we’re doing is just changing that so kids have an opportunity to make the work up until the end of that particular nine weeks,” Robbins said.
Ketchikan’s school board meets at 6 p.m. Wednesday in the White Cliff Building. Members of the public have a chance to weigh in at the beginning of the meeting. The meeting is livestreamed on the borough’s website and broadcast on local cable channels.