Superintendent of Schools Deena Bishop says the students in Anchorage schools will remain masked. Earlier the latest mask mandate was to end this week. Now, there is no end in sight.
In December, the Anchorage School Board overrode Bishop, who had previously discontinued the mask mandate in the fall.
The board, with member Dave Donley dissenting, put masks back on the students when they returned from winter break on Jan. 3. The mandate was to end Jan. 15.
“Changing topics to our COVID-19 mitigation plan, at this time, the mask requirement for all ASD buildings will extend. The total new cases per 100,000 persons in the past seven days was 2,210 as of January 12. For context, this number was hovering close to 100 when my decision was initially made last month to provide for parent directed mask use,” Bishop wrote in a letter to parents on Thursday.
“As mentioned in my previous update, ASD will follow new CDC guidelines and reduce the length of time to stay home from 10 days to five days for those testing positive for COVID-19,” she wrote. “If a student or employee tests positive, they must stay home five days after their first symptom or positive test, whichever is earlier. After five days, the student or employee may return to school or work when they have not had a fever in 24 hours without fever-reducing medicine and as long as other symptoms are improving,” she said.
Bishop said there may be suspended bus service soon for students.
“Another possibility in the coming days may be a return to temporarily suspended bus routes. As a courtesy to families, the Transportation Department has prepared a cohort of transportation routes that could transition into a three-week suspension period should COVID-19 staffing shortages impact transportation. This is contingency planning–please know the Administration aspires to continue normal service. To view the cohorts and to monitor COVID-19 transportation updates, click here,” Bishop wrote.
Anchorage schools have 964 active Covid cases, according to the data dashboard.
She said she wants to keep schools open and with in-person learning.