The Bristol Bay Area Health Corporation officially designated the school district as high-risk on Thursday and school is cancelled Friday. The Dillingham area has seen a significant rise in COVID-19 cases in recent weeks, although none have been identified within the school.
Dillingham’s school is closing to in-person learning due to a rise in COVID-19 cases in the community. Both the elementary and the middle-high school closed Friday. The district shifted to online and virtual education starting Monday.
The Bristol Bay Area Health Corporation officially designated the school district as high-risk on Thursday. BBAHC defines a high-risk scenario as “a clear trend of exponential growth of COVID-19 positive cases with the doubling of positive cases across a regular increment of time.”
No cases of COVID-19 have been identified within the school.
Dr. Jason Johnson is the superintendent of the Dillingham City School District. He said while the school is prepared for the transition to online learning, they’re hoping for students to return to the building as soon as it’s safe.
“We want our kids in the building and we’re really hoping the community will take action and help us get our kids back as quickly as possible,” he said.
The school district will cover internet costs for families with most instructions moving online. Devices like tablets and computers will be distributed to students at all grade levels.
Students will use Schoology, an online learning program, to participate in lectures and complete coursework. Students were using the program at the both schools to prepare for a possible shutdown.
Coursework at the elementary school will be a mix of paper and online coursework.
Elementary students received iPads and middle-schoolers are using Chromebooks. High school freshmen and sophomores are using Windows computers, while juniors and seniors will receive macbooks.
Dr. Johnson says the administration is working with the Bristol Bay Area Health Corporation to figure out when students can return to school safely.
“What we’re working with the health corporation to do is look at this data on a rolling basis every 7-14 days we’ll review the status here locally and make decisions based on the data that the hospital has,” said Johnson.
Teachers and district staff will maintain communication with families throughout the week. The school will update the public as it makes decisions and as new information becomes available. You can find out more on the district website.
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