Juneau School District officials speak on masking reversal on Action Line

    Juneau, Alaska (KINY) - Juneau School District Officials spoke on Action Line today following the move this week to change its masking policy and make masking optional.

    It was after Juneau was determined to be of high covid risk according to the CDC.

    "That CDC metric triggered us into high based on the combination of two metrics. The first is based on our new COVID cases in a seven-day period. And Juno, that is Juneau's specific data and we have been and continue to be in the higher of those two categories from there. What happened then is the second metric kicked in, and that is the new hospital admissions in a seven day period," said Board President Elizabeth Siddon. "Talking with CBJ officials, talking with Juneau public health, talking with Bartlett Regional Hospital and discovering that CDC had had in fact changed the way they aggregated the underlying data for that metric and that that metric includes a broader health service area that includes hospitals between Petersburg and Yakutat, and so that one is not a Juneau specific metric, and that is where the board opted to reconsider then how we implement, locally, a mask requirement."

    Superintendent Bridget Weiss said that, while there was compliance in the past, they would likely not have the same level of compliance on Monday of this week.

    "So that was a real challenge for our buildings. We did not want to send kids home yet, we had a policy in place. So it was a couple of days of just doing the best that we could it was definitely disruptive at some sites, but we tried to focus on learning focus on keeping kids in class and at school, wherever possible. And I know everyone was relieved Tuesday night when the board made a decision so that we could have really good clarity because part of the problem early in the week was just the ambiguity," she said.

    President Siddon was asked what the future of the policy will be.

    "Those are questions we'll have to face about, whether it sunsets and we have we go back to a situation where we have no formal mask policy, but any individual has an opportunity or an option to mask if they feel they want to or need to," she said. "I don't know I can't speak we have not talked about that as a board in terms of where we'll be headed, really long term."

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