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Parents raise concerns over Mt. Edgecumbe COVID-19 mitigation plan

Administration says restrictions will be tight as students arrive.
Two cases of COVID-19 were confirmed among Mt. Edgecumbe High School students.
Two cases of COVID-19 were confirmed among Mt. Edgecumbe High School students.(KTUU)
Published: Aug. 23, 2020 at 10:35 PM AKDT
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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - Classes at Mt. Edgecumbe High School start Monday, but following the announcement of two cases of COVID-19 among arriving students Friday, some parents are raising concerns over the school’s plan.

While dropping her student off at the airport, Heather Lambert said she saw students not following regulations meant to slow the spread of the virus.

“Some masks were worn properly, some weren’t, and there was no six feet apart,” she said. “It was crowded.”

She questioned why students are being separated based on hot spots, with some housing at the old Sheldon Jackson College, after already flying into Sitka.

“Why put them at SJ if they can’t even social distance themselves at the airport?” Lambert asked.

According to the school's superintendent, Janelle Vanasse, the transit of students has gone smoothly, though she added there probably wasn't 100% distancing.

“Is it likely that there were some kids that didn’t always observe the social distancing that we asked of them? It’s likely,” she said. “But I think it was as minimal as we could manage”

As for conditions when the students arrive. Lambert said her son, like other students, was confined to his room to isolate.

“I kind of knew that maybe food would have to be delivered and but to call to have to use the restroom to call the shower,” she said.

However the Vanasse said many of those restrictions will be lifted shortly once arriving students' tests come in.

“Until we get that arrival test result for all of our students, we need to be pretty locked down because we want to avoid any unintentional exposure,” she said.

She added that food delivery was reportedly going well, though it did have logistic issues at the beginning.

“It just took a whole lot longer to get around and hand deliver all of these individual foods than they expected,” she said.

As for the school’s next steps, once all the tests are in, Vanasse said students will be able to leave their rooms, though group sizes are likely to stay low for a while.

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