COVID protection steps in school carefully monitored

School buses parked near Cordova Jr./Sr. High School. (Aug. 5, 2020) Photo by Zachary Snowdon Smith/The Cordova Times

Over the course of the next couple of weeks, the Cordova School District will work closely with state health officials to determine when to begin modifying pandemic mitigation strategies in effect in local schools, to balance health precautions with the importance of in-person learning.

Conversations are taking place at the district level related to COVID-19, as the school district works with the state’s chief medical officer, Dr. Anne Zink and other state officials to create that balance, said Cordova Schools Superintendent Alex Russin.

Layered mitigation strategies are still the best defense against COVID-19, with consideration to easing them slowly rather than eliminating them all at once, he said.

Russin said he is encouraged by comments from state health officials, who noted in letters to school districts that there is not one best approach to easing mitigation that will fit all schools equally. Each district needs to consider which indicators and de-escalation strategies are best within the context of their schools and communities, the state letter advised. If subsequent waves of the pandemic occur due to new variants or other factors each district will need to consider which layers to add back and when, based on the local epidemiology and severity of the wave, they advised.

Working with state and local service providers, Russin said, he feels the school district will be in a good position to begin modifying a number of mitigation strategies and practices related to school operations. Meanwhile, Russin told parents and the community in his letter of Feb. 7, the district is working hard to monitor and adjust its practices based on relevant information, particularly locally that impact students, staff and school operations.