Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) and KPBSD

[ updated: March 23, 2020 ]

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Spring break extended through March 27, 2020

Spring Break Extended for students

March 23, 2020: Letter from Superintendent John O'Brien to KPBSD
March 17, 2020: Assistant Superintendent Dave Jones letter to KPBSD staff and families
March 12, 2020: Message from Superintendent John O'Brien
March 3, 2020: Message from Superintendent John O'Brien

March 23, 2020 - Greetings to our KPBSD community,

Over the past few months, we have all experienced a surreal situation unfolding before our very eyes. COVID-19 emerged as an isolated situation that had a profound impact in China but caused little disruption to our daily lives here in the U.S.A. What a different reality we are experiencing now with this virus present in our own communities.

During this time, when spring break is extended and schools closed for students, our incredible staff is hard at work preparing and delivering meals for students, and planning remote learning lessons. The education of our students must continue. Therefore, on Monday, March 30, students will "return to virtual schooling and remote learning activities," by State Health Mandate 008.

On a personal note, in addition to the challenges of this pandemic, the Friday before spring break I was diagnosed with kidney cancer. I have been out of state receiving medical care and diagnostic testing. This week on Tuesday, I will undergo surgery and begin treatment. I feel blessed that it was caught early and my prognosis is good once surgery and treatment occur. I am thankful for our incredible Leadership Team which has risen to the occasion and will continue to lead our school district while I focus on my health, treatment, and recovery. During my absence, Assistant Superintendent Dave Jones is serving as Acting Superintendent.

I thank each of you for your courage and resilience during these difficult, trying, and uncertain times. I wish you all well. We will come out of this stronger and more united than before. Take care of yourselves, your friends, and family.

With hope for the future,

John O'Brien

Superintendent, Kenai Peninsula Borough School District

Parents and Guardians

What is KPBSD doing?

As concerns about the coronavirus or COVID-19 grow, be assured that the Kenai Peninsula Borough School District is communicating closely with the State of Alaska Department of Health and Social Services, and administration is working with the Kenai Peninsula Borough Office of Emergency Management to refine our pandemic preparedness plans. In the event of a suspected or confirmed case in the area, we will follow the state and CDC guidance to ensure we take every step possible to keep our students, staff, and community safe and slow the spread of COVID-19.

KPBSD School Nurses

Our nursing supervisor is in contact with school nurses and schools to provide the latest COVID-19 information, screening requirements, symptoms, and actions to take in the event there is a suspected or confirmed case of coronavirus or COVID-19. In addition, supplies have been identified and inventoried that would be needed to effectively sanitize buildings if the time were to come that we do have a suspected or confirmed case.

The best thing everyone can do to slow the spread of any virus is to stay healthy, and practice normal precautions during flu season. This not only benefits you, but also the people around you, especially those who may be at higher risk (elderly neighbors, people with chronic illness, etc.) If your child has a fever of 100.4 or greater or is sick, that indicates it is time to stay home from school.

Everyone is asked to continue healthy behaviors like frequent handwashing with soap and water for 20 seconds (suds your hands the length of time it takes to sing happy birthday or a,b,c,d,e,f,g… to yourself), cover your mouth and nose when you sneeze, and use a household cleaner on flat surfaces that you touch often.

School Closure

In the event of a prolonged school closure, the district is developing plans for alternate means to educate students. This plan may include providing students with assignments via mail, email, or district online learning platforms. KPBSD Information Services is coordinating the continuing of operations-education support plan as it pertains to use of district technology platforms with schools, teachers, students, and families. The district recognizes that not every student has online access from home, and is taking this into account.

On February 28, 2020 State of Alaska Department of Health and Social Services stated, “Alaska’s state public health laboratories now have the ability to test for the novel coronavirus (COVID-19). This is a new capacity for Alaska’s labs, made possible by test kits provided to states by the Centers for the Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to allow for rapid COVID-19 testing.

If a hospital or a health care provider suspects that a patient has novel coronavirus based on the CDC guidance, they should contact the Section of Epidemiology within the Alaska Department of Health and Social Services (DHSS). If DHSS epidemiologists determine that testing for COVID-19 is warranted, they will provide guidance on how to test and ship samples to the labs. Both state public health laboratories (Anchorage and Fairbanks) are able to test samples. Under most circumstances, initial test results should be available within 4-6 hours of specimen arrival at the laboratory. Personal health information will remain confidential, but the public will be notified if Alaska has a positive case of novel coronavirus.”

Helpful Links

Parent Resources

2020 KPBSD Pandemic-Epidemic COOP COVID-19 Plan

This is a broad plan to address BP 6144.4 Pandemic-Epidemic Emergencies. It is not intended as an operations manual for each and every variation of an evolving pandemic-epidemic situation. KPBSD administrators and staff will continue to receive guidance and communications from the KPBSD Pandemic-Epidemic response team.

The COOP was emailed to KPBSD school administrators, leadership team, and school board on March 2, 2020, and includes the following sections: Planning and Coordination; Response; Infection Control; and Continuance of Operations-Education Delivery.

2020 KPBSD Pandemic-Epidemic COOP COVID-19 Plan

Travel Restrictions

Due to concern about the novel coronavirus (COVID-19), effective March 3, 2020, until further notice:

  • KPBSD is canceling all district and school sponsored travel for staff and students outside of the state of Alaska.
  • Employee work related travel outside of Alaska canceled until further notice.
  • At this time, district and school-sponsored travel within Alaska is permissible and not affected.

District leadership will re-evaluate travel restrictions as evolving conditions warrant. The team anticipates that the travel restriction will likely be in place through April. Travel in May and beyond will be re-evaluated when we understand the spread of COVID-19 with more certainty.

Alaska 2-1-1

For Alaskans who live in areas where 2-1-1 cannot be accessed, please call 800-478-2221.

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