Petersburg School Board is meeting Tuesday night to vote on a proposed COVID mitigation plan for the school year. The board will also be going over changes in assessment testing for students.
The school board will be continuing their discussion on COVID mitigation from their work session Thursday night. On Tuesday night, they’ll be voting on the issue, which will cover the policies for things like masking, testing, and travel protocols. In August, the board approved universal masking for the first two weeks of school. As of Thursday night, the board seemed split on how to proceed from there.
The proposed plan has protocols according to the community and district’s risk status. That would include masking according to risk level and medical recommendations. Masking could be different from school to school. The risk level would be decided by administration with guidance from the newly-formed Health Advisory Committee. This committee meets weekly and includes a school board member, a district union representative, the superintendent, both principals, the activity director, the public health nurse, and a representative with the Petersburg Medical Center.
In the proposed plan, school activities are ongoing, following required mitigation measures that other schools have.
The plan would follow the public health directives for close contacts, which requires quarantining for unvaccinated staff and students but not for those who are vaccinated.
The plan also addresses travel protocols. It would allow staff and students to return to school immediately after travel but they must wear a mask until a negative PCR test is received from a test on day 7. Students can opt to do a 10-day quarantine instead of testing but staff cannot.
Virtual schooling is not an option this year for regular students except in special circumstances.
Also at the meeting, the school board will be hearing updates about state assessment testing. The Alaska Department of Education and Early Development announced that only 64 percent of third through ninth graders took the PEAKS test last spring. Because of the low turnout, the state is cautioning districts against comparing this year’s data to previous years on a statewide level. The local school district has also been using the MAP test to follow students’ progress. Starting this year, the whole state will be moving to that program for its assessments.
At the meeting, the board will also hear administrative reports from the principals, the activities director, and the maintenance director.
The regular school board meeting starts at 6 p.m. in the auditorium and via Ring Central video conferencing. KFSK will be broadcasting the meeting live. You can stream it online at KFSK.org. The public can email the district office before the meeting to get the password for the videoconference. Those email addresses are: firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com. Or call the office at (877)-526-7656.
The district is stressing that people attending the meeting in person must follow Board Policy procedures and the current masking policy.
THIS STORY HAS BEEN EDITED TO INDICATE THE MEETING LOCATION HAS BEEN MOVED TO THE AUDITORIUM TO ACCOMODATE AN EXPECTED CROWD.