Anchorage students will be forced to wear masks after Christmas break, at least until Jan. 15, but perhaps longer.

Anchorage School District Superintendent Deena Bishop address the school board on Dec. 21.

The Anchorage School Board voted 6-1 on Dec. 20 to override Superintendent Deena Bishop’s decision to nix masks by Jan. 3 when students return from the holidays. Board Member Dave Donley was the only member to vote against extending the mandate.

In defending her initial Dec. 15 announcement that masks would be voluntary in the new year, Bishop said the number of positive cases in the district were very low. Of the 50,000 students, staff and teachers there are maybe 20 reported cases each week, she said. And that’s with 900 weekly tests.

Bishop acknowledged that the issue is very divisive, but her decision was based on current case counts.

“As you can tell not everybody is on the same page,” she told the board. “Our community is very split on this.”

That said, Bishop pointed out that the Anchorage Assembly rescinded its citywide mandate earlier this month, and it no longer deems Anchorage to be in an emergency situation with regard to spreading and hospital capacity. Bishop said she received many questions and emails from the community following the Anchorage Assembly’s decision. People wanted to know whether the school district would follow suit.

The majority of the school board, however, disagreed with Bishop’s decision, with several expressing concern that there may be a surge in cases following the return of students from their holiday travels.

For now, the mask mandate will remain in effect until Jan. 15. At that point the board will consider whether to extend it.

The district has enforced its mask mandate throughout the year, despite the fact that children show very mild symptoms from contracting COVID, and not a single Alaskan under age 20 has died from the virus.

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Anchorage School Board overrides, superintendent, reinstates mask mandate

Joel Davidson
Joel is Editor-in-Chief of the Alaska Watchman. Joel is an award winning journalist and has been reporting for over 24 years, He is a proud father of 8 children, and lives in Palmer, Alaska.


  • John J. Otness says:

    Thank you Superintendent Bishop and board member Donley. Fire the rest of the lot.
    Soros Covid money has a strong pull on proper ethical judgement.

  • Proud Alaskan says:

    Just like the far left leaning assembly both boards
    need to go, it’s all about control.

    • Sick n tired says:

      Bishop and Donley are the only ones thinking about our kids – the rest of the board and assembly need to go. Time for much better for our kids and community.

  • Ed Martin Jr says:


  • Brandon says:

    Deena Bishop remember the name.
    “As you can tell not everybody is on the same page,” she told the board. “Our community is very split on this.”
    -So then why are you(Deena) being the decisive factor? If you don’t have an Agenda to uphold…. leave it up to the individual or the parents to decide.. Who are You?? I guess your the school dictator and all student are your.. forget the parents or the freedom of choice.
    You have Cases to worry about!! Better lock down the state too.

    We are all done with this B.S..
    You focused on Cases!? It’s deaths we need to be worried about and the worst is behind us. That is until they release a new one.. cause it was no accident =/

  • Fedup says:

    The cases are so low that my doctor’s office no longer requires masks. My doctor told me the pandemic is over locally, but still going because of politics.

  • Theresa says:

    I must be naive, because I am surprised anew each time a festering nest of Communists exposes itself.
    It seems to me we shot ourselves in foot during the last round of elections to school board. So many conservatives ran that we split the vote and couldn’t overcome the Reds who were running. I’m not sure how to address that problem, but it’s worth pondering for the next go-around.

  • Julie Ward says:

    I am for freedom of choice. Masking should be up to the parents and the families. Thank you Deena Bishop. Shame on the teachers union. I am an ASD teacher and you do not represent me.

  • Christopher Bauer says:

    Maybe ASD Board can learn something from Valdez School District and principals. Test to Stay and Removing mask mandates in Jan 2022. They piloted the Test to Stay in Alaska and other school boards are modeling it.

  • jeff lafferty says:

    Are there any groups within Anchorage or the state organizing to defeat some of the current board members when elections come around? I’m happy to support and join the effort.