The Juneau School District building, March 20, 2020. (Michael S. Lockett | Juneau Empire)

The Juneau School District building, March 20, 2020. (Michael S. Lockett | Juneau Empire)

Juneau School District will restart at a distance

All schools will begin Aug. 24.

The Juneau School District will restart the school year for all levels with distanced learning in the face of the coronavirus.

“Our goal is to balance educational needs with health and safety for our staff, students, families and community,” wrote JSD Superintendent Bridget Weiss in an email to all parents. “By beginning the year with the most stable plan possible, we increase our ability to focus on quality education and to maintain a consistent schedule that families can plan around.”

Distanced learning will not involve the proposed A and B schedules that would have come with in-person learning, Weiss said in the email. Students will attend classes as they were scheduled.

“We continue to work closely with the (City and Borough of Juneau) Emergency Operation Center and the Juneau Public Health Center and watch our risk status as a community,” Weiss said. “We plan to reevaluate our operational status at the end of September.”

[US and Canadian coast guards work together to rescue stranded vessel]

However, high school sports will also proceed, for now.

“High school activities will continue as possible, with health guidelines and mitigation plans in place. So far (the Alaska School Activities Association) is supporting fall activities continuing in communities that are not in the red (high) risk status,” Weiss said. “Travel, if permitted, will only be to and from communities where the risk status is low.”

The plan prioritizes the students whose education will be most affected by the distance, Weiss said. As the year moves on, JSD will reevaluate the situation and adjust their methodology, according to a plan they’ve already developed.

“We will introduce some face-to-face instruction to certain students following Labor Day as we are able, following all of the considerations above,” Weiss said. “For students who are transitioning (incoming Kinder students, sixth-graders, ninth-graders), schools and teachers will have activities designed to help get to know them and orient them to their new school.”

JSD will also supply laptops for all students that don’t have a device at home, as well as continue to work with students with connectivity issues to solve that.

• Contact reporter Michael S. Lockett at 757-621-1197 or lockett@juneauempire.com.

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