How Will District Try To Keep Kids, Teachers & Families Safe?

District To Impose Protocol For Exposed & Sick Staff Members. Classes Will Be Split Into Small Groups. Village Safety In The Copper Val...

District To Impose Protocol For Exposed & Sick Staff Members. Classes Will Be Split Into Small Groups. Village Safety In The Copper Valley 

The Copper River School District's plan of action regarding COVID-19 exposure in the school will include a protocol to quarantine and test staff members who are exposed or become ill. It will also include certain methods of trying to reduce exposure in classes. School Superintendent Therese Ashton gave the Country Journal the following rundown in return to the Journal's questions on August 26th – the date that school was supposed to open before the opening schedule was delayed to August 31st. 

Sign On Door At Glennallen School. Late July, 2020. (Photo, Country Journal)

COUNTRY JOURNAL INTERVIEW  

TEACHER & STAFF QUARANTINES
JOURNAL: What is the plan at CRSD? Will teachers and staff quarantine if exposed in the future?

SUPERINTENDENT:  
CRSD has a protocol for staff members who are directly and indirectly exposed to the virus. This protocol was used after we had a positive case of COVID-19 on staff last week. At this time we will continue to use the same protocol. Staff members who test positive for the virus will go into immediate isolation for 10 days. Staffers who come into close contact with a person who is positive will start a 14-day quarantine. They will test on the 5th day after being exposed. If they test negative they will test on the 7th day. If they test negative on the 7th day they may return back to work. If on either day they test positive they will continue to quarantine for the full 14 days.


 "CRITICAL INFRASTRUCTURE"
JOURNAL: Can you elucidate exactly what the CRSD means by "critical infrastructure" as specifically as possible? 

SUPERINTENDENT:
The Board of Education designated the district as a critical infrastructure as a means to provide us structure in the way the district will determine health and safety protocols for COVID-19. For example, the isolation and quarantine protocol noted in the first answer may not be a current CDC guideline, however, it is a clinically sound method and accounts for our area’s ability to get rapid results from tests for the virus. 

CLASSROOM PROTOCOLS
JOURNAL: You mention "additional guidelines and protocols to safely ensure our students can get back into the classrooms.” What exactly are those guidelines and protocols?

SUPERINTENDENT: 
The guidelines include washing hands frequently, staying 6 feet apart whenever possible, encouraging the use of masks, and using cohorts as a way to minimize contact within groups of students. Cohorts are created by placing students in a classroom into smaller groups that they stay with throughout the day. If a student in a cohort becomes ill then the rest of the class will not be as likely to have been infected. We continue to look for ways that may help mitigate the spread of the virus.


Sign At Entrance To Kluti-Kaah Village In Copper Center, Late July, 2020. (Photo, Country Journal)

VILLAGE SAFETY
JOURNAL: Is there an attempt by the school district to keep COVID-19 out of the villages? As you know Native peoples are at least 3.5 times more likely to have a severe reaction to the coronavirus. Are you addressing this issue in coordination with the village councils?

SUPERINTENDENT:
The village councils are able to manage the safety and well-being of their community. CRSD will continue to partner with them as we are able. We currently have an administrator on staff who is working directly with village administration on providing educational opportunities that fit their model for keeping their villages safe.

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