Kodiak students will be learning remotely beginning Thursday, the borough school district announced Wednesday in a letter to parents.
This comes as COVID-19 cases in the Kodiak Island Borough continue to rise to unprecedented levels. The Emergency Operations Center Wednesday reported 174 new cases of COVID-19 from tests taken from Jan. 4-11.
The new cases have pushed the active case count in the island to 711 cases. That means 5% of the Kodiak Island Borough’s population is known to presently have COVID, using the data from the latest census in 2020.
According to the letter, the district has over 60 staff absent and 12 substitutes available. Over 145 staff and students at Kodiak High School and 300 staff and students from the district at large are absent for isolation and quarantine.
Superintendent Larry LeDoux said the district has exhausted its supply of healthy staff.
“We’ve been doing everything possible to keep the schools open and to fight that battle,” he said. “But you have to have staff and you have to have principals in the hallway with kids instead of teaching classes and you have to have aides there to help people achieve their goals. And you have to have a safe environment for kids.”
LeDoux said it was a difficult decision.
“I’m really troubled about it. I believe it’s the right decision. But it’s not a decision I wanted to make. And I hope I don’t have to make it again the rest of the year,” he said.
The borough hopes to return to in-person learning on Tuesday, Jan. 18, according to the letter sent to parents.
Breakfast and lunch will be available to pick up from the high school main entrance between 11:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m. for all students Thursday and Friday.
There will be a second testing and supply pickup event later this week, according to the school. A date and time have yet to be announced.