There will be no mandatory face coverings for students and staff participating in summer school programs in the Kenai School District.

A letter from Acting Superintendent Clayton Holland addressed to the community states that as of June 14 schools will be mask optional.

Holland noted that the decision was influenced by new CDC guidelines, widely available vaccines and the sharp decline in case rate on the Kenai Peninsula.

“The summer is the perfect time to make this change as there are fewer students in our buildings and the temperatures allow our staff to increase outdoor instruction and activity time,” Holland said. “As we move through the summer we will continue to monitor local transmission levels and keep track of State and CDC recommendations related to mitigation plans in our schools.”

The district is still “strongly” advising non-vaccinated staff, student and parents to mask, but this is no longer mandated. Likewise physical distancing of three feet is encouraged, but not mandated.

Despite being one of the least vaccinated regions in the state at just 44.8%, COVID case rates in the Kenai Borough are among the very lowest in the state at just three per 100,000 residents. The Kenai case rate is far lower than Juneau where 74% of residents have received COVID shots but transmissions remain more than twice as high at seven cases per 100,000 people.

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Kenai schools ditch masks for summer sessions

Joel Davidson
Joel is Editor-in-Chief of the Alaska Watchman. Joel is an award winning journalist and has been reporting for over 20 years, He is a proud father of 8 children, and lives in Palmer, Alaska.