Public schools in the Fairbanks area are on track to open classrooms to elementary students on October 5 and middle school students October 19. The Board of Education for the Fairbanks North Star Borough School District had another late-running meeting late night to hear conflicting testimony from parents, teachers and students. But the issues for returning high school students were too complicated for the board to pick one of two plans and the board rejected both of them.

Superintendent Gaborik Announces Retirement

Sep 14, 2020
FNSB School District

The superintendent of Fairbanks area schools has announced she will retire in June. Karen Gaborik has worked for the Fairbanks North Star Borough School District for more than 20 years and has been the Superintendent of Schools since 2014.

School Board president Wendy Dominique said Gaborik intended to make the announcement at this week’s school board meeting.

“They were trying to keep it a secret until Tuesday but of course, she had to put it in the agenda, and once you put it in the agenda, everybody started calling and asking if it was true. It was a shocker to me. I just thought she was going to be here for at least another two years especially with the pandemic.”

Dominique says she thought Gaborik would want to have a normal school year after the disruptions caused by forced remote learning.

In her letter, Gaborik wrote: “Serving the school district in the past 26 years in the community where I was born and raised has been a journey full of great adventures, profound personal growth, and deep connections. When I reflect on the body of work that has resulted from a career of service to students, families and staff, I am grateful for the incredible opportunities that have graced my path.”

Dominique says the announcement coming now gives the school board time to do a comprehensive search and public review for a new superintendent.

Gaborik says she is fully committed to her work and the district for the remainder of her contract and looks forward to participating in the transition to new leadership.

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.


Schools in the Fairbanks North Star Borough are now in the state Department of Education and Early Development's "Red Zone."

It is defined as an average of 10 or more new  COVID-19 cases per 100,000 people over the last two weeks in a community.

The average for Fairbanks North Star Borough exceeds that: 152 cases in the last 14 days is about 11 per day.

The borough has a total of 692 COVID-19 cases, and only 241 are presumed to have recovered. Six have died and the rest are assumed to be infectious.

While it means no change for most students, who are already getting distance delivery of classes at home, it means student athletes must stop playing unless a 10-foot distance can be maintained.

According to a notice sent to parents yesterday, the decision was made with consultation with the district's Medical Advisory Committee.

The committee's Dr. Mishelle Nace and Superintendent Karen Gaborik will give an update at tonight's Board of Education meeting at 6:00 p.m.


Kids return to school today across Alaska, including the Fairbanks North Star Borough School District. On top of academic challenges, students sometimes face unequal service by school staff because of heritage, skin color or sexual identity. Last year, the administration hired a consultant to investigate the district’s climate for prejudice and abuse.

School Athletics OK in Scaled-Down Model

Aug 14, 2020

School football, cross-country running and girls’ volleyball teams will continue their pre-season practices after approval by the Fairbanks North Star Borough Board of Education this week. The board heard safety recommendations from statewide athletic directors, but not everyone on the board was convinced.

Families Enroll in Classrooms by Default

Aug 12, 2020

With the pandemic threatening in-person schooling, the Fairbanks North Star Borough School District Board of Education has been meeting weekly, and sometimes twice a week, to oversee the options offered to families. The met Monday evening and are meeting again tonight (Wednesday.)

At last count there are 13,281 public school students in the borough and about 11,000 are presumed to return to the classroom, with others staying home learning remotely or attending a homeschool program. The district asked families to enroll students by last Friday, however, which families are doing what is still in flux.

Fairbanks North Star Borough schools will start with fully-remote learning on August 20th. At a six hour school board meeting last night, directors voted to re-assess school readiness and safety every two weeks. Whether to eventually move into classrooms hinges on COVID-19 numbers.

Schools in Fairbanks and North Pole will look very different this fall. Students are expected to return to The Fairbanks North Star Borough School District classrooms on August 19th or 20th, according to a Return to School plan that is still evolving. It hinges on the number of coronavirus cases in the community.

While school buildings were closed during Spring semester, supporting teaching became the priority for district staff, and advisory committees were not able to meet.

The Diversity Committee of the Fairbanks North Star Borough School District had a meeting scheduled for April that was postponed until last night.