Fairbanks North Star Borough School District begins 2020-2021 school year with remote learning

Published: Aug. 20, 2020 at 6:31 PM AKDT
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FAIRBANKS, Alaska (KTVF) - The 2020-2021 school year began for the Fairbanks North Star Borough School District on Thursday, August 20th.

According to the district website, Fairbanks is currently in the Yellow Operating Zone -- indicating between 5 and 10 daily community cases over a 14-day average. The district school board voted on July 27th to start the school year with classes conducted remotely for all age groups.

District Superintendent Karen Gaborik explained that the schools she contacted reported two-thirds of students as having already checked out electronic devices. The rest of the devices are expected to be distributed by mid-September.

According to Gaborik, the majority of teachers are working in their classrooms. “They really wanted access to their buildings, so they could have their stuff, right? And so even though it’s remote, there’s so much they can do with their things, and it was just so much easier for them to be in their classroom. So the majority of our teachers and our support staff, and everybody is working onsite at their normal work location. We do have a few that have requested ‘telework agreements’, we call them, for different reasons. So sometimes, it might be that they’re high risk, or somebody in their family is high-risk,” she said.

Gaborik provided ballpark numbers for which learning options district parents chose for their children. About 10,100 students are participating in in-person/blended learning, 1,240 are utilizing eLearning and 830 are currently using BEST homeschooling.

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