Some Anchorage school board members are working hand-in-glove with select Anchorage assembly members to extend the emergency powers of the mayor and keep schools closed, because some teachers do not want to return to the classroom.
A private meeting is planned for coming days between School Board member Deena Mitchell, Assembly members Meg Zalatel and Felix Rivera, and the Acting Mayor Austin Quinn-Davidson to hammer out the agreement. Quinn-Davidson becomes mayor at 6:01 pm on Friday, Oct. 23. Zalatel, Rivera, and Quinn-Davidson are all subject to current attempts to recall them.
Other Assembly members have been approached to encourage the extension of the emergency orders and proclamation, which expires Nov. 30.
The emergency extension due to the COVID-19 pandemic would allow the school board to continue locking the schools, with the support and direction of the Anchorage Education Association, which has taken the position that there is no practical way to implement safeguards from the coronavirus.
Meanwhile, a petition is reportedly circulating in factions of the community to shut down the Ben Boeke ice arena once again, and return it to sheltering vagrants through the winter. The Sullivan Arena is also being used to shelter vagrants, as a way of spacing them out at existing homeless shelters.
The Anchorage School District has a plan in place for those parents and/or teachers who would prefer not to go back to school in person. Students can continue to get their education by the ASD online program. But they will not have the opportunity to return to the classroom, if the current plans unfold to extend the emergency declaration in Anchorage.