Mat-Su Borough students can go back to school full time in the fall

MSBSD is set up at Friday Fling market in Palmer to answer questions parents have about school next year.
MSBSD is set up at Friday Fling market in Palmer to answer questions parents have about school next year.(Taylor Clark)
Published: Jul. 17, 2020 at 6:30 PM AKDT
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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - Parents in the Matanuska Susitna Borough will be able to send their children back to school five days a week this upcoming fall according to acting superintendent, Luke Fulp. For parents who aren’t ready to send them back, virtual learning will still be available.

Fulp said based on the infection rate in the Mat-Su they feel confident about the decision, but are monitoring closely. He said several hundred students have been already going to summer school to help prepare staff for having students back in the buildings.

As of June 17th, he said about 6,000 students have registered in the district. Of those, the vast majority are opting for in class learning with just over 10% registering for online class.

Fulp said class sizes will be determined greatly by the number of kids who do virtual school next year.

“As we have more families that are engaged in that at-home, remote learning option that reduces the number of students on the school bus, that reduces the number of students in the classroom,” he said, “that helps everyone as we try to create as much space as possible and keep everyone safe.”

He said plans can change based on the level of risk. Schools will be given a risk level of low, moderate, or high and depending on how high the risk of infection is will cause mitigation action to be taken.

Fulp said if one child gets sick with coronavirus, it won’t throw the entire district into a reaction. He said the Alaska Smart Start Framework allows the district to treat each school as it’s own ‘community.'

“The good thing about that is that it allows us to be responsive to the needs of those who are at risk of virus spread within that school building, but it limits the disruption to the rest of the district and allows them to continue learning within in building, in person services,” Fulp said.

While at school, Fulp said students will be strongly encouraged to wear masks and practice mitigation techniques. His hope is that parents will talk to their children to help them understand that they need to take the pandemic seriously so they don’t have to close school again.

Copyright 2020 KTUU. All rights reserved.

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