Phase-in Return-To-School for Special-needs Students

Sep 3, 2020

Credit FNSB School District

  The Fairbanks North Star Borough school district board has approved a phased plan for returning special needs and at risk students to classrooms, beginning September 8th.


At a reconvened school board meeting last night (Wednesday), Superintendent Karen Gaborik said state Smart Start guidelines provide leeway for in-person leaning for both student categories, regardless of whether a district is in the Green, Yellow or Red pandemic operational zone.

…small cohort groups.”

District officials said return of those students will start slowly and hinge on whether their parents want them back in classrooms. A second measure approved by the board last night (Wednsday) sets a mid-October date as the earliest when middle and high school students could return to classrooms. School board president Wendy Dominique read the measure.

…regular board meeting.”

The board subsequently amended the measure to say the evaluation would take place “no later than the October 6th meeting.”  Returning a large volume of students to schools will require transportation, and that involves hiring and training bus drivers, some of whom will come from the lower-48, a process estimated to take up to 3 weeks.       

The Fairbanks North Star Borough School District went into "Red Zone" operations Monday, reflecting a recent increase in local Covid 19 cases. Gaborik said that there have so far been 4 confirmed COVID-19 cases among district students and staff.