Anchorage schools will close on Election Day in response to elections officials’ request

an Anchorage school
A “Do Not Enter” sign is seen in front of Abbott Loop Elementary in Anchorage on Oct. 19. Most Anchorage schools will be closed on Tuesday because of a request from the Alaska Division of Elections. (Photo by Yereth Rosen/Alaska Beacon)

Anchorage schools will be closed Tuesday on Election Day, with students working from home because of a request from the Alaska Division of Elections, officials from both agencies said.

Gail Fenumiai, director of the elections division, said the request was not related to security concerns. Elections officials in other states have received violent threats from supporters from former President Donald Trump, but Fenumiai and Lt. Gov. Kevin Meyer said those threats have not been received here.

“It wasn’t … that we felt there were going to be protests or anything like that,” Fenumiai said. “It assists with having an adequate space for voting, parking, etc., and it’s just an all-around better situation.” 

Fifty-four polling stations are at schools in Alaska’s largest city, according to a list published by the Division of Elections.

Lisa Miller, a communications specialist for the school district, said the closure was scheduled after a recommendation from Meyer’s office following the 2020 election due to COVID-19.

“The recommendation specifically focused on reducing exposure risk to students as Election Day activities occur in our schools when serving as a polling place,” she said.

School district calendars are produced three years in advance, and the Anchorage School Board approved the closure in June 2021 for the 2022-2023 school year, Miller said. 

Schools in Juneau and Fairbanks will remain open on their normal schedules, according to calendars online.

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