COVID-19 cases in Anchorage move school district into all-online learning

Deena Bishop, superintendent of the Anchorage School District, outlined plans for the opening of Anchorage schools ahead of the 2020 school season. (Mayowa Aina/Alaska Public Media)

Anchorage School District superintendent Deena Bishop announced Friday that ASD will begin the school year with its “high-risk” scenario for school operations. Under this model, schools will start the year with at-home online learning.

Bishop said the high-risk scenario is necessary as the municipality has reached a 14-day average of 30 new cases per day. In the last seven days, Health Department director Natasha Pineda said the average is higher, at 38.9 new cases per day, a jump from 24.9 last week. 

All students in grades three through 12 will be provided with a Chromebook to do their classwork. The school board is also providing funding to ensure all students have working internet connections.

For the district to consider restarting in-school classes, Bishop says the 14-day average for new cases in Anchorage would have to be between 15 and 28 new cases per day. In the meantime, she is urging residents to practice safe distancing and mask wearing to keep community spread down.

“We cannot have school in-school without all of us in the community doing our share, wearing the masks, taking the protocols, having good hygiene, not going into large gatherings,’ she said. “It’s essential for us to do that. Our success in those endeavors is our children’s success in school.”

RELATED: Mat-Su school district charts its own path to reopening

Bishop said that the district would provide updates prior to Labor Day weekend. The first day of school for the district is August 20.

The school district’s matrix for scenarios for restarting school.

On Tuesday, Bishop said that there was a “high probability” of moving classes to online schooling.

Kavitha George is Alaska Public Media’s climate change reporter. Reach her at Read more about Kavitha here.

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