K-12, UA look to new normal this fall

Alaska Commissioner of Education Michael Johnson

by Dan Bross–KUAC, Fairbanks

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State K-12 and University of Alaska officials have developed plans for operating through a range of COVID-19 threat levels. During a state COVID-19 press conference Wednesday night, Alaska Commissioner of Education Michael Johnson described a basic framework districts can use to guide delivery of education during any pandemic condition.

“So that if students need to move in and out of those risk factors, and in and out of physical shool buildings, that their learning continues.”

University of Alaska president Jim Johnsen shared a similar framework based on four basic COVID-19 threat levels, that campus administrators can use to determine course delivery, housing and other aspects of operation. Johnsen said he anticipates that pandemic conditions will allow more normal operations this fall.

“As many in person classes as is safely possible and some still via distance. We’re looking forward to on campus housing being available. Additional events, athletics, perhaps, and other public events permitted. Within guidelines, of course”

In a letter to the university community, Johnsen says the plan is not a linear path to re-opening, and that “it is very likely that we will move back and forth among the phases as the incidence of COVID-19 ebbs and flows in our state and communities.”

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