Back to School: Issues with masking in Anchorage schools will be handled on case-by-case basis

Alaska's News Source file photo.
Alaska's News Source file photo.(ktuu)
Updated: Aug. 11, 2021 at 7:00 AM AKDT
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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - On the way back to school, there is a lot of buzz among parents and students who are excited about getting back in the classroom. However, in Anchorage, it’s not all satisfaction when it comes to the Anchorage School District requiring universal masking for everyone inside district buildings during the day.

Superintendent Deena Bishop said it’s an even split among parents who are for and against the masking requirement. That felt apparent in the most recent school board meeting where parents and students spoke out on both sides in mass.

The most recent guidance on getting back to school from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says that students who are fully masked and listed as a close contact with someone who has COVID-19 do not have to quarantine. Bishop said that is reason enough to require masks so that learning isn’t disrupted for more students like it was last year.

“I want to move into a time where it is again informed by parents,” Bishop said. “Right now, the numbers in our community and our viral spread — let’s keep our masks on because if it does come to our school, we’re not closing because kids don’t have to quarantine if they’re wearing their mask properly.”

Some of the parents who disapprove of the masking requirement have taken to social media, going as far to call for “civil disobedience” in Anchorage schools. Anchorage Mayor Dave Bronson has also voiced his disapproval of a mask requirement for students and encouraged the school district to reconsider it, but he hasn’t encouraged parents to have their students not follow the rules.

Bishop offered this statement as to how the issue of students not following masking requirements would be handled by the schools.

“Disciplinary action for any incident within an ASD school is handle(d) on a case by case basis and at the school level. The relationship between teachers, principals and families is important. ASD staff will work with parents and students to resolve any situation that may arise in a manner that enables our students to continue learning in an engaging and positive environment.”

Deena Bishop, ASD Superintendent

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