UPDATE: CDC released a new Operational Strategy for K-12 Schools through Phased Mitigation on Feb. 12.
ASD will assess the strategy and update the website in the week to come.
ASD’s planning and decision-making process for determining the District’s risk level for conducting school takes multiple community factors into consideration. The District conducts this process in close conversation with the Municipality of Anchorage and the State of Alaska Department of Health and Social Services.
In recent months, organizations such as the Center for Disease Control, the American Academy of Pediatrics, and the World Health Organization have expanded their guidance and resources regarding safely providing public education. This new information includes a range of metrics and other criteria that allows districts, in close coordination with state and local health officials, to revise and adapt school opening guidelines based on the unique context of their community.
New Criteria Guidelines
The new guidance provides districts greater latitude to adapt and revise school plans that consider not only the rate of community spread, but the ability to incorporate multi-step mitigation strategies.
- Universal and correct use of masks in District facilities and buses
- Social distancing to the greatest extent possible
- Hand hygiene and respiratory etiquette
- Cleaning and disinfection
- Adequate and readily available cleaning supplies and PPE
- Contact tracing in collaboration with the Anchorage Health Department
- Keep ASD Symptom Free -- Stay home at the onset of any symptoms
Additionally, ASD must consider other risks to students’ wellbeing when school is not open for face-to-face classes:
- The impact on social-emotional needs
- The impact on behavioral and mental health
- The absence or reduction of critical services
- School lunch programs
- Special Education services
- After-school programs
- Mental health services
- Instructional Factors
- ASD’s ability to sustain the current online learning model
- Parental support limitations & challenges with online learning options
- Achievement Factors
- Student grades
- Students’ ability to graduate
- Evidence of growing student achievement gaps
- Student engagement rates during online instruction
- Social and Emotional Factors
- Rates of suicide and gestures of self-harm
- Indicators of harmful online behavior
- Evidence of growing instances of child abuse
- Health Screening Factors
- Impact of not having in-school vision/hearing screenings
- Impact of not having school-provided medication distribution
- Community Factors
- Drug & alcohol abuse statistics
- Domestic abuse statistics
- Unemployment rates
- Loss of access to health insurance for families with school-age children
- Income statistics
- Availability of mental health support in the community
Decision Making Criteria
With this new guidance, ASD is moving towards a deliberately paced integration of students back into classrooms. This plan will allow us to maintain the highest level of mitigation factors outlined in the CDC's indicators and thresholds chart below while observing other risk indicators in our community.
Lowest risk of transmission in schools
Lower risk of transmission in schools
Moderate risk of transmission in schools
Higher risk of transmission in schools
Highest risk of transmission in schools
CORE INDICATORSASD Data as of 2/24
Number of new cases per 100,000 persons within the last 14 days*
5 to <20
20 to <50
50 to ≤ 200
Percentage of positive RT-PCR tests during the last 14 days**
3% to <5%
5% to <8%
8% to ≤ 10%
Ability of the school to implement 5 key mitigation strategies:
Consistent and correct use of masks
Social distancing to the largest extent possible
Hand hygiene and respiratory etiquette
Cleaning and disinfection
Contact tracing in collaboration with local health department
Schools should adopt the additional mitigation measures outlined below to the extent possible, practical and feasible.
Implemented all 5 strategies correctly and consistently
Implemented all 5 strategies correctly but inconsistently
Implemented 3-4 strategies correctly and consistently
Implemented 1-2 strategies correctly and consistently
Implemented no strategies
Percent change in new cases per 100,000 population during the last 7 days compared with the previous 7 days (negative values indicate improving trends)
-10% to <-5%
-5% to <0%
0% to ≤ 10%
Percentage of occupied adult hospital inpatient beds in the community***
80 to 90%
Total percentage of occupied hospital inpatient beds in the community***
80 to 90%
Percentage of occupied adult intensive care unit beds in the community that are occupied***
80 to 90%
Total percentage of occupied intensive care unit beds in the community***
80 to 90%
Percentage of occupied hospital inpatient beds in the community by patients with COVID-19***
5% to <10%
10% to 15%
Existence of localized community/public setting COVID-19 outbreak****
*Number of new cases per 100,000 persons within the last 14 days is calculated by adding the number of new cases in the county (or other community type) in the last 14 days divided by the population in the county (or other community type) and multiplying by 100,000.
**Percentage of RT-PCR tests in the community (e.g., county) that are positive during the last 14 days is calculated by dividing the number of positive tests over the last 14 days by the total number of tests resulted over the last 14 days. Diagnostic tests are viral (RT-PCR) diagnostic and screening laboratory tests (excludes antibody testing and RT-PCR testing for surveillance purposes). Learn more on the Calculating Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) Laboratory Test Percent Positivity: CDC Methods and Considerations for Comparisons and Interpretation webpage.
***Hospital beds and ICU beds occupied: These indicators are proxies for underlying community burden and the ability of the local healthcare system to support additional people with severe illness, including those with COVID-19. A community can be defined at the city, county or metro area level; federal analyses of hospital utilization rates within a community are typically conducted at the core-based statistical area (e.g., by metropolitan or micropolitan status).
**** Sudden increase in the number of COVID-19 cases in a localized community or geographic area as determined by the local and state health department.
ASD will monitor the community COVID data on a daily basis; however, District risk-level decisions will be made every two weeks. The risk level will be subject to change based on direction from the Municipality or State.