Legislature(2019 - 2020)DAVIS 106

03/20/2020 08:00 AM EDUCATION

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08:03:35 AM Start
08:04:45 AM Presentation & Discussion: Coronavirus - Implications for Alaska Schools
10:00:02 AM Adjourn
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
+ Presentation & Discussion: Coronavirus - TELECONFERENCED
Implications for Alaska Schools
-- Testimony <Invitation Only> --
+ Bills Previously Heard/Scheduled TELECONFERENCED
**Streamed live on AKL.tv**
                    ALASKA STATE LEGISLATURE                                                                                  
               HOUSE EDUCATION STANDING COMMITTEE                                                                             
                         March 20, 2020                                                                                         
                           8:03 a.m.                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
MEMBERS PRESENT                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
Representative Andi Story, Co-Chair                                                                                             
Representative Harriet Drummond, Co-Chair                                                                                       
Representative Grier Hopkins                                                                                                    
Representative Chris Tuck                                                                                                       
Representative Tiffany Zulkosky                                                                                                 
Representative Mike Prax                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
MEMBERS ABSENT                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
Representative DeLena Johnson                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
OTHER LEGISLATORS PRESENT                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
Representative Geran Tarr                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
COMMITTEE CALENDAR                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
PRESENTATION & DISCUSSION: CORONAVIRUS - IMPLICATIONS FOR ALASKA                                                                
SCHOOLS                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
     - HEARD                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
PREVIOUS COMMITTEE ACTION                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
No previous action to record                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
WITNESS REGISTER                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
MICHAEL JOHNSON, Ph.D., Commissioner                                                                                            
Department of Education and Early Development (DEED)                                                                            
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT:  Gave a PowerPoint Presentation, entitled                                                                 
"Teaching & Learning Support for Alaska's Educators:  COVID-19                                                                  
Update."                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
DEENA BISHOP, Ed.D., Superintendent                                                                                             
Anchorage School District                                                                                                       
Anchorage, Alaska                                                                                                               
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified regarding the implication of                                                                   
coronavirus for Alaska Schools.                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
DANIEL WALKER, Superintendent                                                                                                   
Lower Kuskokwim School District                                                                                                 
Bethel, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION  STATEMENT:    Testified regarding  the  implication  of                                                             
coronavirus for Alaska Schools.                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
BRIDGET WEISS, Ph.D., Superintendent                                                                                            
Juneau School District                                                                                                          
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION  STATEMENT:    Testified regarding  the  implication  of                                                             
coronavirus for Alaska Schools.                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
ACTION NARRATIVE                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
8:03:35 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR  STORY called  the  House  Education Standing  Committee                                                             
meeting  to   order  at  8:03  a.m.     Representatives  Hopkins,                                                               
Zulkosky,  Prax and  Story were  present  at the  call to  order.                                                               
Representatives Tuck and  Drummond arrived as the  meeting was in                                                               
progress.  Representative Tarr was also present.                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
^Presentation  &  Discussion:   Coronavirus  -  Implications  for                                                               
Alaska Schools                                                                                                                  
Presentation & Discussion: Coronavirus - Implications for Alaska                                                            
                            Schools                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
8:04:45 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR STORY  announced that the  only order of  business would                                                               
be  a   presentation  and  discussion  on   the  coronavirus  and                                                               
implications for Alaska schools.                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
8:07:12 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MICHAEL  JOHNSON, Ph.D.,  Commissioner,  Department of  Education                                                               
and  Early Development  (DEED), gave  a PowerPoint  Presentation,                                                               
entitled  "Teaching &  Learning Support  for Alaska's  Educators:                                                               
COVID-19 Update" [included in the committee packet].                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER  JOHNSON announced  the  agenda he  would cover,  as                                                               
shown  on slide  2, and  then  he referred  to a  message he  had                                                               
written  to  public  school  families,   which  read  as  follows                                                               
[original punctuation provided]:                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
      The   only  expectation   of  public   education  that                                                                    
     eclipses  its responsibility  to  provide an  excellent                                                                    
     education for  every student every  day is to  take all                                                                    
     necessary  steps to  ensure the  health  and safety  of                                                                    
     every student every day."                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
        - DEED Memo to Alaska Public School Families and                                                                        
     Staff, dated March 13, 2020                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER   JOHNSON  expressed   appreciation  for   and  gave                                                               
examples  of people  who  have  found ways  to  make things  work                                                               
during the  pandemic, and  he acknowledged  underpraised workers,                                                               
including cooks, bus drivers, and custodians.                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
8:12:44 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER  JOHNSON directed  attention to  the information  on                                                               
slide 4, which read [original punctuation provided]:                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
     Major Education Announcements                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
     ?First Health Mandate - March 13, 2020                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
     ?Second Health Mandate - March 16, 2020                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER   JOHNSON  said   "nonstudent  contact   days"  were                                                               
scheduled March 26-27, with an  unprecedented closure of schools;                                                               
districts were  encouraged to dedicate  in-service days  to fully                                                               
organize   and  plan   for   remote   delivered  schooling;   all                                                               
residential programs are  working to have students  home by March                                                               
27, another mandate, and that goal is near to being reached.                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
8:13:55 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  ZULKOSKY  asked  what  considerations  were  made                                                               
regarding schools  that offer access  to running water  for those                                                               
homes that do not have it.                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER  JOHNSON  responded  that  schools  offering  water,                                                               
supplies,  and in  some cases  emergency shelter,  have staggered                                                               
when people  can come for the  supplies.  He said  DEED is trying                                                               
to work to  address needs on a community by  community basis.  He                                                               
confirmed  that not  only  DEED, but  also  other agencies,  were                                                               
working to provide access to water.                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
8:16:19 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER JOHNSON returned to  the PowerPoint presentation, to                                                               
slide 5, which read as follows [original punctuation provided]:                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
     DEED Communication Efforts                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
     ? DHSS Unified Command Conference Calls                                                                                    
     ? Internal Emergency Response Team                                                                                         
     ? In-State:                                                                                                                
          ? Daily group calls with superintendents (ASA)                                                                        
          ? Individual calls with district and school staff                                                                     
          ? Social media messaging (@AlaskaDEED)                                                                                
          ? Online resources  webinars, videos                                                                                  
          ? ?and growing daily!                                                                                                 
     ? Nation:                                                                                                                  
         ? Twice-weekly calls with the Council of Chief                                                                         
     State School Officers (CCSSO) and U.S. ED                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER JOHNSON credited  districts for their communications                                                               
on  social  media and  teachers  connecting  with students.    He                                                               
highlighted  a program  called  "The Den,"  which  is offered  on                                                               
YouTube by an Anchorage district teacher named Mr. Butterfield.                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER  JOHNSON  addressed  the  information  on  slide  6,                                                               
regarding  "Health   &  Safety  Information  &   Resources"  made                                                               
available online  by Todd  Brocious, a  school health  and safety                                                               
education  administrator.     He   said  DEED  sent   letters  to                                                               
superintendents  about  the coronavirus  on  February  6 and  the                                                               
online resource is updated regularly.                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
8:19:49 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER JOHNSON  covered topics on  slides 7 and  8, related                                                               
to  student  learning and  teaching  and  learning support.    He                                                               
addressed  the information  on  slide 7,  which  read as  follows                                                               
[original punctuation provided]:                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
     Support for Distance and Remote Teaching and Learning                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
     DEED  launched a  Teaching &  Learning Support  site to                                                                    
     offer   information,  resources,   and  leadership   to                                                                    
     teachers  and school  leaders across  Alaska. The  site                                                                    
     serves as  a clearinghouse  where we share  great ideas                                                                    
     gleaned from a variety of locations and sources.                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER JOHNSON shared the  website is www.aklearns.org.  He                                                               
thanked the  Southeast Regional Resource  Center (SERRC)  for its                                                               
willingness  to  partner with  DEED  and  continually update  the                                                               
website.    He  said  this  source  offers  online  learning  for                                                               
educators, with over 300 teachers  participating.  In response to                                                               
Co-Chair Drummond,  he confirmed that  the web site  is available                                                               
to the public.                                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER JOHNSON  said forward-thinking  superintendents have                                                               
been  doing a  lot of  work with  their staff  and teachers,  and                                                               
teachers have been  doing a lot of work with  their students.  He                                                               
mentioned  curbside  pickups  and reported  that  the  Matanuska-                                                               
Susitna (Mat-Su)  School District would be  fully transitioned to                                                               
online learning by  the following week.   He said superintendents                                                               
are sharing information  with each other.  The  web site includes                                                               
information   such  as   daily  schedules,   lesson  plans,   and                                                               
opportunities in which families can partake from home.                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER  JOHNSON  addressed  slides  9, 10,  and  11,  which                                                               
listed family resources, remote  learning resources, and distance                                                               
teaching tools, respectively.  He  said many curriculum providers                                                               
have been  offering their materials  at no cost, and  those links                                                               
are  included.   He talked  about Alaska  Learning Opportunities,                                                               
and  he said  the  prior day  over 300  teachers  were logged  on                                                               
learning  how to  use Zoom.    He mentioned  the "ECHO"  project,                                                               
shown on  slide 12, and said  it is an excellent  opportunity for                                                               
teachers  to  acquire the  skills  needed  "to function  in  this                                                               
environment."                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
8:24:56 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR  DRUMMOND   gave  a  shout   out  to   Alaska's  service                                                               
providers, Alaska Communications Systems,  Inc. (ACS) and General                                                               
Communications Incorporated (GCI), and  said she had announced on                                                               
the House floor what those  two service providers have offered to                                                               
communities.                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER  JOHNSON  acknowledged that  the  telecommunications                                                               
industry in  Alaska has been  ready from the beginning  to figure                                                               
out how it can support student learning.                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
8:26:50 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER  JOHNSON turned  focus to  slide 13,  which read  as                                                               
follows [original punctuation provided]:                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
     Student Nutrition                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
     ? 32 districts have submitted waiver requests                                                                              
      ? 23 districts have approved feeding plans for their                                                                      
     communities                                                                                                                
     ? 213 sites                                                                                                                
     ? 1 Head Start                                                                                                             
        ? 5 after-school programs have submitted waiver                                                                         
     requests                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER   JOHNSON   credited   Jo   Dawson,   [School   Food                                                               
Coordinator,  Child Nutrition  Services Section,  DEED], for  her                                                               
forward-thinking in applying  for a waiver before  there were any                                                               
COVID-19 cases in  Alaska.  He said the numbers  on the slide are                                                               
most likely old, since they have  been "growing by the hour."  He                                                               
said Ms. Dawson and her team  have been working to submit waivers                                                               
related to food service.  He gave  a shout out to the bus drivers                                                               
and cooks  who have worked to  ensure children do not  go without                                                               
food.   The  services are  non-congregate; students  can pick  up                                                               
food  in staggered  fashion or  have  food delivered  by the  bus                                                               
drivers.   He  said  the  teachers at  St.  Mary's School,  where                                                               
Internet is  limited, have fashioned  a system of picking  up and                                                               
dropping off meals with lesson plans.                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER JOHNSON  discussed slide  14, which read  as follows                                                               
[original punctuation provided]:                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
     Supporting Students with Special Needs                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
     ? #1 Priority: Keep students safe and then provide the                                                                     
     services identified in the IEP, making accommodations                                                                      
     as necessary.                                                                                                              
        ? District special education leadership has been                                                                        
     provided a DEED mobile contact number for 24/7 support                                                                     
     ? Daily webinars with DEED                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER JOHNSON  said DEED's special education  (SPED) team,                                                               
led by  Don Enoch, has  been working  tirelessly and has  led web                                                               
seminars.  A service plan for  teleservices has been created.  He                                                               
said  SERRC  has  been  working  with DEED  to  assess  needs  of                                                               
students with  disabilities.  In  response to  Co-Chair Drummond,                                                               
he described the work done by SERRC in general.                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
8:31:29 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER JOHNSON  turned to slide  15, which read  as follows                                                               
[original punctuation provided]:                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
     Residential School Programs                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
      ? Residential schools are committed to maintaining a                                                                      
      connection with students and continuing education as                                                                      
     students return home.                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
     https://education.alaska.gov/news/pdf/3-16-2020-DEED-                                                                      
     COVID-19- Memo-to-Residential-School-Programs.pdf                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER JOHNSON  noted that most  students are at  home now,                                                               
and they will not be able to  commute back and forth to school in                                                               
the interest of preventing  community transmission [of COVID-19].                                                               
He  recognized  some  of the  programs  and  communities  keeping                                                               
students safe.                                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
8:32:56 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER   JOHNSON,   in   response  to   a   question   from                                                               
Representative Zulkosky regarding the  transport of students from                                                               
schools  back to  their  communities, said  schools  such as  Mt.                                                               
Edgecumbe  work under  the guidance  of health  officials at  the                                                               
Department  of Health  and  Social Services  (DHSS).   For  those                                                               
flying home,  chaperones were provided,  and students  were given                                                               
rooms at hotels  to reduce the amount of time  they would have to                                                               
be in the airport.  In  response to a follow-up question, he said                                                               
Mt. Edgecombe has  about 400 students, and work has  been done to                                                               
bring  students home  each day.   He  said he  did not  know, but                                                               
could find out, how many students had been transported to date.                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
8:34:33 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER JOHNSON responded to  a question from Representative                                                               
Hopkins   regarding  the   continued  education   and  transcript                                                               
outcomes of  students who  have returned home  to areas  that may                                                               
not have adequate Internet connectivity.   He noted that although                                                               
people  may wish  for  certainty  in answers,  it  is not  always                                                               
possible   in  uncertain   times.     He  said   the  answer   to                                                               
Representative  Hopkins' question  is  different  for each  area.                                                               
For example, the students in  Nenana are utilizing "cyber links,"                                                               
the Nenana  School Districts'  correspondence program,  while Mt.                                                               
Edgecombe is  sending computers home  with students.  He  said he                                                               
has heard of some school  districts ensuring students can connect                                                               
to the Internet when not in  the school building, for example, by                                                               
driving up to  the school.  He said most  students have access to                                                               
cell phones, which can become  "hotspots" to access Internet.  He                                                               
said DEED is working through the issue of transcripts.                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
8:37:01 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER JOHNSON returned to  the PowerPoint presentation, to                                                               
the issue of "Statewide Assessments,"  beginning on slide 16.  He                                                               
said  several days  ago Governor  Mike Dunleavy  directed him  to                                                               
seek  waivers  from the  federal  government  on assessments  and                                                               
other federal  requirements, specifically  so that  teachers will                                                               
have time  to reorient the  delivery of instruction  to students.                                                               
He said  he would have  more information  soon on the  outcome of                                                               
this conversation.                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER JOHNSON moved on to  slide 17, which read as follows                                                               
[original punctuation provided]:                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
     High School Seniors                                                                                                        
     Graduation Requirements [&] APS Eligibility                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
     ? Educators across Alaska are currently preparing for                                                                      
     possible distance delivery of instruction                                                                                  
        ? DEED expects the education of our students to                                                                         
     continue                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER JOHNSON  said this  is an especially  stressful time                                                               
for seniors transitioning  from high school to  either college or                                                               
a career.   He said  Stephanie Butler, Executive Director  of the                                                               
Alaska   Commission  on   Postsecondary   Education  (ACPE),   is                                                               
researching  what   authority  [the  state]  has   to  waive  the                                                               
requirement  for  the   SAT  and  the  ACT   on  the  performance                                                               
scholarship.  He said with the  support of the governor, he would                                                               
be waiving that requirement for  the performance scholarship.  He                                                               
explained that he does not want  seniors to feel that the current                                                               
situation  is  jeopardizing  their  opportunity  to  access  that                                                               
scholarship.    He  reiterated  that  transcript  and  graduation                                                               
requirement issues are being worked out for high school seniors.                                                                
                                                                                                                                
8:39:11 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER  JOHNSON,  in  response to  Representative  Hopkins,                                                               
said  a decision  related to  the transcripts  would be  made "as                                                               
soon as possible."                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
8:40:33 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER JOHNSON  turned to slide  18, which read  as follows                                                               
[original punctuation provided]:                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
     Supporting Educators Teacher Certification                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
     Current Online Support:                                                                                                    
       ? Educators applying for certification can utilize                                                                       
     DEED's Online Payment Center                                                                                               
     ? Educators renewing certification can utilize DEED's                                                                      
     Online Certificate Renewal process                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
     Looking Ahead:                                                                                                             
     ? Certification expirations                                                                                                
     ? Emergency certificates                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER JOHNSON  said that  under AS  14.20.020, he  has the                                                               
authority to issue emergency  certificates and waive requirements                                                               
for  renewal of  certification.    He said  he  would be  issuing                                                               
emergency certificates  to any student teachers  who "were unable                                                               
to complete their student  experience" and extending certificates                                                               
that would  expire.  Further,  he would be  authorizing emergency                                                               
certification  for  individuals  unable to  satisfy  testing  and                                                               
coursework requirements.                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
8:41:50 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  HOPKINS   opined  that  that  was   an  excellent                                                               
decision.                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR STORY said, "I think we probably all agree with that."                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
8:42:27 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER JOHNSON  brought attention  to slide 19,  which read                                                               
as follows [original punctuation provided]:                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
     School Calendar Waivers                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
       ? The Commissioner has the authority in Statute to                                                                       
       waive the school term requirement if necessary (AS                                                                       
     14.03.030)                                                                                                                 
       ? At this time, non-student contact days are to be                                                                       
     used as in-service days for educators                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER  JOHNSON  said  he  is  currently  looking  at  that                                                               
authority.   He  said  he  converses with  unified  command on  a                                                               
regular   basis.     He  expressed   his  appreciation   for  the                                                               
willingness to talk extended by  Commissioner Adam Crum, Dr. Anne                                                               
Zink,  and  Governor  Dunleavy.     He  said  he  would  have  an                                                               
announcement to  make on Monday  as to whether the  current pause                                                               
and noncontact  days will  continue after the  end of  the month.                                                               
He explained the  normal process for waivers  for school closures                                                               
and said the  department is working on preparing  that letter for                                                               
everyone so that  individual districts don't have to  do that and                                                               
can focus instead on how they will deliver instruction.                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
8:44:11 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER   JOHNSON,   in   response  to   a   question   from                                                               
Representative  Tuck as  to what  was being  done to  prevent the                                                               
spread of COVID-19, said the answer  varies across the state.  He                                                               
said in  some districts, teachers  are working from  home; others                                                               
are  working in  the classroom  with social  distancing; teachers                                                               
arriving in  smaller communities  from hub communities  are first                                                               
isolating; and  DEED recommunicates  the advisories  and mandates                                                               
posted by  Dr. Zink.  In  response to a follow-up  question as to                                                               
the likelihood  of brick  and mortar schools  not being  open for                                                               
students this year,  he said the answer changes  daily because of                                                               
what is  happening nationwide.   He said  there are  already some                                                               
school districts that will not be  returning at the end of March.                                                               
He expressed that  although he holds out hope  that the situation                                                               
will improve, it is not  unlikely that the statewide closure will                                                               
continue after the end of the month.                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
8:47:46 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  HOPKINS urged  Commissioner  Johnson to  evaluate                                                               
how  an   extended  closure   would  impact   teacher  evaluation                                                               
timeframes.                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER JOHNSON  said he has  had a conversation  about that                                                               
issue, and it will be on his list of things to consider.                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
8:48:32 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER JOHNSON stated  his belief in the  ability of Alaska                                                               
students  to continue  to  learn through  this  pandemic, and  he                                                               
emphasized  the importance  of them  doing  so in  order to  fill                                                               
important occupations and  roles in their communities.   He asked                                                               
students to  be "the  face of  hope" and to  show the  world that                                                               
"learning  is not  tied  to  a specific  location."   He  thanked                                                               
students  for  being  flexible  and  excelling  in  the  face  of                                                               
challenges  and  making  this  a story  of  triumph  rather  than                                                               
tragedy.                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
8:51:36 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR DRUMMOND  commented on  the slide showing  students, and                                                               
she said  she was happy  "to see these  kids sending us  a signal                                                               
that they're going to be okay."                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
8:52:31 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER   JOHNSON,   in   response  to   a   question   from                                                               
Representative Tuck, said  the other day he signed on  to an ECHO                                                               
Zoom  meeting, and  there were  over 300  teachers participating.                                                               
He  said  the  [Behavioral   Interventions  for  Early  Childhood                                                               
(BIEC), called  ("ECHO")] project  has many  ways to  instruct on                                                               
Zoom.  Many of  the courses are recorded and can  be watched at a                                                               
later time.   In response to Representative  Drummond, he offered                                                               
his  understanding that  these courses  may be  available to  the                                                               
public.                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
8:54:54 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER   JOHNSON,   in   response  to   a   question   from                                                               
Representative Zulkosky, said he does  not know how many students                                                               
in Alaska  participate in residential schools,  but he speculated                                                               
it was fewer than 1,000.                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
8:55:18 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER  JOHNSON,  in  response to  Representative  Hopkins,                                                               
regarding  recommended steps  for  continued  payment of  support                                                               
staff, such  as bus drivers  who may  not be delivering  food [or                                                               
transporting  students], said  he advises  "to make  every minute                                                               
count for every kid."  The  situation that has not changed is the                                                               
ability for  students to learn.   He said there are  teachers and                                                               
support professionals  who can  support that  learning.   He said                                                               
converting  student   contact  days  to  in-service   days  keeps                                                               
districts from having to extend the  school year.  The budget has                                                               
been allocated,  and school  districts can  continue to  pay "all                                                               
those employees."   He said  he has  heard of creative  ways that                                                               
support staff are  being used.  He said he  has not heard reports                                                               
of anyone  not working;  conversely, he  hears stories  about how                                                               
people  are  working.    He  concluded,  "There's  something  for                                                               
everybody to do, even in this situation."                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
8:57:35 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR   STORY  asked   Commissioner  Johnson,   "Will  monthly                                                               
payments go out  to districts, just continue to be  made as we do                                                               
under the foundation entitlements?"                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
8:57:48 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER JOHNSON  confirmed yes.   In response to a  query as                                                               
to  how the  legislature can  help, he  told Co-Chair  Story that                                                               
having  invited  the  department  to  do  this  presentation  was                                                               
helpful.   Further, he said  the more  the legislature can  do to                                                               
get information out to constituents, the better.                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR STORY  noted that some  districts had  opened facilities                                                               
to accommodate  childcare for families  of public  health workers                                                               
who are employed in hospitals  and medical clinics, and she asked                                                               
if that would be an option in Alaska.                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER JOHNSON  deferred to  DHSS but  said he  knows "they                                                               
sent out guidance to those providers."                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
8:59:50 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR  STORY expressed  her appreciation  for  the work  being                                                               
done on  behalf of students.   She  said the committee  would now                                                               
hear from superintendents.                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
9:00:48 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
DEENA  BISHOP, Ed.D.,  Superintendent, Anchorage  School District                                                               
(ASD),  stated   that  ASD  is   focused  on   keeping  students,                                                               
employees, and  members of the  community safe and healthy.   She                                                               
talked about  the steps  ASD has taken  since February  28, 2020,                                                               
including  cancelation of  international, then  domestic, travel.                                                               
She explained that  without this decision, over  880 students and                                                               
employees  would have  traveled domestically  and out  of Alaska,                                                               
with 130  of those traveling overseas.   She said a  large number                                                               
of students have traveled, for  example, during spring break, and                                                               
ASD is doing assessments on them  to ensure those coming into the                                                               
buildings are low risk.                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
DR. BISHOP said teachers were  given the option of teleworking or                                                               
teaching from their classrooms.   She said this is in conjunction                                                               
with the low-,  medium-, and high-risk categories  defined by the                                                               
U.S. Center for Disease Control  (CDC).  Other employees are also                                                               
working from  home.  She  said as long  as staff is  "on-call and                                                               
ready  to work"  they are  being  paid.   She said  ASD is  doing                                                               
administrative  leave for  those who  have to  stay home  because                                                               
they are medium-,  to high-risk individuals who  cannot be around                                                               
others.  The district sends  out communications and has a medical                                                               
update   from  its   administrative   team.     Its  nurses   are                                                               
coordinating with  the city.   She mentioned  drive-through sites                                                               
for testing.   She talked about restrictions on  those nurses who                                                               
have traveled with  students and the medium-risk  status on those                                                               
who travel.   She indicated that  [those nurses who cannot  be in                                                               
the school] have been working to  answer "211" calls for the city                                                               
to answer  questions city-wide.   Nurses  are also  providing in-                                                               
home visits.  Meals are being provided.                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
DR. BISHOP  said ASD is  part of the Municipality  of Anchorage's                                                               
(MOA's)  emergency command  operating seven  days a  week.   That                                                               
operation is  going to  relocate to West  High School  to provide                                                               
for  social  distancing.   She  said  Deputy Superintendent  Mark                                                               
Stock is participating on a  national panel for Hannover Research                                                               
to share information  with large school districts,  ASD being one                                                               
of the  hundred largest in the  nation.  She said  the number one                                                               
issue  cited  is  the  equity  of  free  and  appropriate  public                                                               
education (FAPE).  The focus  is to ensure equitable services are                                                               
available for all students.                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
9:06:22 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
DR. BISHOP said  teachers collectively made over  47,000 calls to                                                               
reach out  to students, and  she shared  the following data:   79                                                               
percent responded  to the  calls; 88 percent  of those  said they                                                               
are  "okay with  child care"  currently; at  least 95  percent of                                                               
ASD's families have  at least one "device" - at  least 15 percent                                                               
of  those are  phones  with Internet,  and the  rest  could be  a                                                               
laptop  or computer;  86 percent  are connected  directly to  the                                                               
Internet; 90 percent can connect  wirelessly; and only 63 percent                                                               
of  those who  responded  have a  printer at  home.   Dr.  Bishop                                                               
credited  General Communications  Incorporated  (GCI) and  Alaska                                                               
Communications Services  (ACS) for  their generosity  in offering                                                               
discounted and free service,  respectively, throughout the school                                                               
year.  She said ASD's goal  is to provide Chromebooks to families                                                               
that need them.                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
DR.  BISHOP related  that  the  ECHO network  came  from a  rural                                                               
Midwest  university  and was  created  so  doctors could  connect                                                               
regarding  healthcare.   She offered  further history  explaining                                                               
how ECHO  became used  in Alaska.   She said  ECHO in  Alaska can                                                               
help  teachers troubleshoot  around  the state,  and it  connects                                                               
teachers  and  parents.   She  indicated  that committee  members                                                               
could use ECHO if  they want to learn more about  Zoom.  Over the                                                               
weekend, ASD deployed  ECHO to all its teachers  and students and                                                               
worked  on testing  it.   Principals are  using it;  teachers are                                                               
learning how  to use it.   She said  teaching is a  social event,                                                               
and the  relationships that form  around "the water  cooler" need                                                               
to be kept strong.  She described ideas for socialization.                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
DR. BISHOP  said many teachers  go into their classrooms  if they                                                               
are low-risk.   She said  ASD is focusing on  "long-term offering                                                               
of instruction."  It is  focusing on graduating seniors and tying                                                               
in what  they are doing now  with what they do  after graduation,                                                               
whether  that be  college or  the  workplace.   She talked  about                                                               
focusing first  on the  core subjects  with electives  coming two                                                               
weeks later.  She spoke about  alternate ways to help students be                                                               
successful.    At  the  elementary  level,  ASD  is  focusing  on                                                               
English, language arts,  and math.  The goal is  to get the right                                                               
resources to  those who need it,  when they need it.   Dr. Bishop                                                               
said  ASD   is  sharing  its  resources   with  other  districts;                                                               
districts are learning from and helping each other.                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
DR. BISHOP, in  regard to special education, said  ASD is looking                                                               
at  tutoring,  expanding  school   days,  and  expanded  learning                                                               
models.   She  said there  would be  home visits.   She  said ASD                                                               
wants to  provide equity  and "keep moving  with learning."   She                                                               
said many districts  across the nation are  shutting down because                                                               
they are afraid  of the equity issue or "want  to stand away from                                                               
the equity issue  if they can't deploy it."   She emphasized that                                                               
ASD wants to  continue learning, and she said Alaska  is "a prime                                                               
place  to  demonstrate that  this  could  work."   She  said  the                                                               
legislature  could  help  with approval  for  teletherapy,  which                                                               
requires  licensure.     She  talked  about   training  teachers'                                                               
assistants  (TAs), and  she emphasized  the importance  of people                                                               
continuing  to  work  either  on "the  operational  side"  or  on                                                               
continued  learning.   Regarding  Internet  technology (IT),  she                                                               
said  a Zoom  account  was set  up for  every  student and  staff                                                               
member  in the  district, and  updates  are given  at 11:00  a.m.                                                               
every weekday.   She noted  that hacking has  increased threefold                                                               
across the  nation, and she said  teachers should be set  up with                                                               
the necessary protocol "so that nobody in Alaska breaks down."                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
9:15:38 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
DR.  BISHOP indicated  that human  resources (HR)  is setting  up                                                               
telework agreements with the  various collective bargaining units                                                               
and answering  leave and pay  issues.  Regarding  operations, she                                                               
reported that 4,500  meals were delivered on  Monday and Tuesday;                                                               
7,000 were delivered  Wednesday.  There are  approximately 10 bus                                                               
routes into  neighborhoods for deployment  of food  services, and                                                               
nurses are on the busses  to offer socially distanced assistance.                                                               
She  said this  Friday  meals  for the  entire  weekend would  be                                                               
deployed.   She said  ASD is working  closely with  MOA regarding                                                               
operations, setting up space for  the Emergency Operations Center                                                               
(EOC) and  considering Campfire or  other small groups  coming in                                                               
to run  childcare.  She  said no one  in childcare is  allowed to                                                               
have traveled  within the last  14 days.   She said ASD  has been                                                               
lending out  its electrostatic  sprayer for  sanitation purposes.                                                               
Shelter  operators  around  the  city   are  asking  to  use  the                                                               
sprayers.    She  related  that  ASD  had  to  set  up  emergency                                                               
procurement in  order to get  resources deployed;  warehouses are                                                               
operating  as  they would  during  summer  when they  deliver  to                                                               
buildings even when there is not  large staff in them.  Regarding                                                               
communications,  she  said ASD  is  broadening  its social  media                                                               
presence in order  to "capture" families, students,  and staff to                                                               
give public service announcements,  highlighting meal service and                                                               
community partnership.   She indicated  that she had  submitted a                                                               
presentation with photos.                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
9:18:00 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR   STORY  confirmed   the  PowerPoint   presentation  was                                                               
included in the committee packet.                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
DR. BISHOP said slide 2 shows  the agenda topics covered daily in                                                               
the EOC.   Every day there is an  update.  She said slide  3 is a                                                               
photo showing how heating instructions  for meals are on the bags                                                               
delivered.    She  described  the   next  several  slides,  which                                                               
depicted  bus deliveries,  children  excitedly  watching for  the                                                               
deliveries  from their  windows at  home, and  people dispatching                                                               
meals.  Slide 8 shows a  virtual board meeting.  Slide 9 provides                                                               
a link  to resources.   Slide 11 shows  a teacher in  a captain's                                                               
hat, sitting in  his classroom while creating a  fun resource for                                                               
YouTube.    Included  in  the PowerPoint  is  a  video  promoting                                                               
handwashing.                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
9:23:35 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
DR.  BISHOP,  in response  to  Representative  Zulkosky, said  in                                                               
order to have  teletherapy count as therapy that  meets the needs                                                               
of students, the district needs  to license its specialists.  She                                                               
added that generally there is  licensure in Alaska that is given,                                                               
but  ASD  just  has  not  deployed  it  with,  for  example,  its                                                               
occupational therapists  and speech therapists, because  they did                                                               
not need it  before.  She said Commissioner  Johnson indicated he                                                               
would offer assistance on this matter.                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
9:24:44 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE ZULKOSKY  said her  office has heard  from private                                                               
providers about the  need to get licensure  for tele-support, and                                                               
she expressed  an interest  in finding out  how this  issue works                                                               
out for ASD.                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
9:25:12 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
DR.  BISHOP, in  response to  Representative Drummond,  gave more                                                               
details  regarding the  aforementioned  use of  Chromebook.   She                                                               
said  the  district purchased  wi-fi  hotspots,  which they  will                                                               
deploy  to families;  therefore,  logging in  on the  Chromebooks                                                               
will  be through  a safe  account.   She indicated  that families                                                               
without wi-fi  will get it  for free through ACS,  while families                                                               
with  wi-fi  will  have it  boosted  at  no  cost  by GCI.    The                                                               
Chromebooks will  be deployed by  the bus drivers.   Instructions                                                               
on video or written instructions will  assist with how to get the                                                               
system up and running.  She said, "We have over 20,000 of them."                                                                
                                                                                                                                
9:27:41 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR  STORY  thanked  Dr.  Bishop.     She  then  noted  that                                                               
Commissioner  Johnson  had just  heard  important  news, and  she                                                               
asked him to state it for the record.                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
9:28:21 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER  JOHNSON   announced  that  the  US   Department  of                                                               
Education   (DoE)  will   be  granting   waivers  for   statewide                                                               
assessments in  the accountability  system.  He  said there  is a                                                               
process  that  must  be  followed.    He  said  the  announcement                                                               
indicates that  DoE will work  with states to ensure  the waivers                                                               
are put  in place, and there  will be a 24-hour  turnaround time.                                                               
He  said  DEED will  be  working  on this  in  order  to make  an                                                               
announcement as soon as possible.                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
9:29:27 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
DANIEL  WALKER, Superintendent,  Lower Kuskokwim  School District                                                               
(LKSD), said LKSD is the  largest regional educational attendance                                                               
area (REAA), with approximately 4,000  students in 29 schools and                                                               
23  communities covering  22,000 square  miles.   He said  he had                                                               
expressed the  following to his staff:   "At the end  of the day,                                                               
we  will  never  know  if  we are  overreacting  to  this  global                                                               
pandemic; but it will be crystal  clear if we underreacted or did                                                               
too  little."     He  said  this  is  magnified   in  the  remote                                                               
communities  where   access  to   services  is  difficult.     He                                                               
emphasized the  need to "err in  the extreme" in terms  of social                                                               
distancing,  caution,  and isolation  in  order  to mitigate  the                                                               
spread of the  virus.  Right before Governor  Dunleavy issued the                                                               
health  mandate, LKSD  had closed  its  schools for  a week;  the                                                               
district  has now  extended that  closure and  has mobilized  its                                                               
leadership  team to  figure  out how  to  provide services  while                                                               
mitigating  risk  to  communities.   He  said  food  services  to                                                               
students will  continue; in Bethel,  bus drivers will  deliver to                                                               
bus stops;  and in  smaller communities,  students are  coming to                                                               
schools  for  pickup.    He   relayed  that  currently  the  U.S.                                                               
Department of Agriculture (USDA)  requires students themselves to                                                               
pick  up their  meals in  order for  the district  to be  able to                                                               
qualify for reimbursement.                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
9:32:54 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MR. WALKER  addressed the issue of  technology.  He said  LKSD is                                                               
working  with all  schools to  distribute  technical devices  and                                                               
anticipates being  able to  provide a  device for  every student.                                                               
He said access to the Internet  is quite limited in rural Alaska.                                                               
He said the  district is working with GCI to  get Internet access                                                               
set up in all students' homes  so that those without Internet can                                                               
get it for free through the end of May.                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
MR.  WALKER said  the director  of Special  Education is  working                                                               
with  Special  Education teachers  through  LKSD  to continue  to                                                               
provide services.   With the shutdown of job  fairs, the district                                                               
is working toward online recruitment,  which he said was a pretty                                                               
easy  transition.     Directors   of  elementary   and  secondary                                                               
education  are   conducting  meetings  across  the   district  in                                                               
collaboration with  teachers and  principals.   School counselors                                                               
and social workers continue to  provide services through telework                                                               
with students.  All teachers are contacting students by phone.                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
9:35:14 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MR.  WALKER related  that he  and  his assistant  superintendent,                                                               
Kimberly Hankins,  have focused their work  on communication with                                                               
site administrators and the public;  they make Zoom calls to keep                                                               
administrators updated;  and they held a  district-wide Zoom call                                                               
with  all classified  and certified  staff -  well over  400 LKSD                                                               
staff  attended.   He  noted  that Zoom  is  providing its  basic                                                               
service at no cost to educators,  and LKSD has an updated account                                                               
that allows for 1,000 simultaneous connections.                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
MR.  WALKER said  travel in  his district  is difficult  and will                                                               
become more  so when communities  begin to close to  visitors due                                                               
to the  pandemic.   The district is  working with  communities to                                                               
ensure goods and services can continue  to be delivered.  He said                                                               
LKSD  sends  packets  and materials  home  for  students;  online                                                               
instruction is  done when  possible, with the  capacity to  do so                                                               
increasing as  more homes  receive Internet.   He  emphasized the                                                               
importance of equity.   He said the district is  looking at class                                                               
audio conferences  established by  teachers and  individual phone                                                               
calls to  students, parents, and  guardians.  He  mentioned other                                                               
opportunities to get  content out to students,  including the use                                                               
of thumb drives.                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
MR. WALKER said LKSD is utilizing  all staff and asking its sites                                                               
to  creatively  find  ways  to   keep  staff  employed,  working,                                                               
teaching students,  and receiving  paychecks.   He said  there is                                                               
"immense  opportunity"  to  work  on  projects  while  practicing                                                               
social  distancing  and  keeping  everyone safe.    He  said  the                                                               
district is working to meet the  mental health needs of its staff                                                               
and is  working to  provide district  resources for  the Employee                                                               
Assistance Program, because the anxiety  of staff members is high                                                               
due to  isolation and uncertainty.   He  said one issue  is those                                                               
who come from  Outside [Alaska] and are far  from their families.                                                               
Mr. Walker  said the district  is providing options  for teachers                                                               
to  work from  home and  work flexible  schedules to  accommodate                                                               
childcare.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
9:39:25 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MR.  WALKER said  LKSD would  like legislators  to know  that its                                                               
staff  is   working  hard  to  deliver   high-quality,  continued                                                               
education  services  during  the   school  closure.    Staff  are                                                               
anxious, isolation  is real - especially  in village communities.                                                               
He said separation  of families weighs heavily.   He stated, "The                                                               
knowledge that  all of us in  the state of Alaska  are navigating                                                               
this situation together  is helpful.  There is  great concern for                                                               
the  health  of  our  elders   and  the  capacity  of  our  local                                                               
healthcare  system  to meet  the  needs  once COVID-19  comes  to                                                               
Bethel and to the remote areas."   He said many of the district's                                                               
communities are  closing down inbound  travel, which  will impact                                                               
the  district's ability  to deliver  services.   Many communities                                                               
are  worried  about basic  services,  such  as access  to  water.                                                               
Construction projects are  being put on hold,  which can increase                                                               
construction  costs.   The  long-term  impact  on the  district's                                                               
ability  to recruit  and retain  teachers is  real, he  said, and                                                               
people are  scared.  He said  LKSD is focused first  and foremost                                                               
on the  health and wellbeing  of its communities,  especially its                                                               
most  vulnerable living  in remote  communities  where access  to                                                               
healthcare is more difficult.  To  that end, he said the district                                                               
is providing maximum flexibility.   He said there is concern that                                                               
communities may  run low  on basic supplies,  and he  has charged                                                               
everyone to  remember that  "we are  all in  this together."   He                                                               
said,  "If  we  need  to   provide  goods  and  services  to  our                                                               
communities, we're  dealing with them  on a case by  case basis."                                                               
He  expressed his  gratefulness to  GCI for  its help  in digital                                                               
access.   He said  LKSD has  incredibly innovative  options being                                                               
considered by teachers.   He said he knows the  district will get                                                               
through  this, and  it  is  doing everything  it  can  to keep  a                                                               
positive attitude  and lower  folks' anxiety  levels.   He opined                                                               
that  Commissioner  Johnson  has  done a  great  job  of  keeping                                                               
superintendents informed  through regular  meetings.  He  said he                                                               
knows it will help if  the state could expediently make decisions                                                               
about what  future closures may  look like; it will  be important                                                               
for  the  district  to  know  whether the  school  year  will  be                                                               
extended, since  that is a  budgetary consideration.   He offered                                                               
to answer questions from the committee.                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
9:43:39 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MR.  WALKER, in  response to  Representative Zulkosky,  confirmed                                                               
that  there have  been  a number  of  people extremely  concerned                                                               
about isolation, access to healthcare  and groceries, and whether                                                               
there will be travel restrictions  that prevent them from getting                                                               
to their homes in the Lower 48.   He said this matter is of great                                                               
concern to  LKSD.   In response to  another query,  he reiterated                                                               
his  admiration of  GCI's cooperation  and said  all options  for                                                               
Internet access are  being considered, including the  use of cell                                                               
phones  as  Wi-Fi  hotspots.    He  said  he  did  not  have  the                                                               
statistics on  how many  do not  have Wi-Fi and  may need  to use                                                               
hotspots;  however, he  offered anecdotally  that there  would be                                                               
more households  in Bethel [with  Wi-Fi] compared to  the village                                                               
communities.   He said he  has heard of families  coming together                                                               
to  buy and  share the  service,  using a  hotspot.   He said  he                                                               
thinks most of the district's  families cannot afford the cost of                                                               
broadband in  rural Alaska,  and it will  take awhile  to provide                                                               
the free Internet.                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
9:48:45 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MR. WALKER, in  response to a question from Co-Chair  Story as to                                                               
whether the district uses telehealth,  said the district has been                                                               
doing telework,  which includes  teletherapy for  speech language                                                               
and "other  sorts of social  services."   He said there  are nine                                                               
masters-level social  workers employed  by the district,  as well                                                               
as an additional six counselors -  all are using various modes of                                                               
teletherapy to provide services to  the communities.  He said the                                                               
district is transitioning to Zoom  so students can have access on                                                               
a phone  line.  The district  will continue to use  phone, audio,                                                               
and video to maintain connections.                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
9:50:49 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR STORY  expressed her  gratitude for  Mr. Walker  and his                                                               
staff.                                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
9:51:39 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
BRIDGET  WEISS,  Ph.D.,  Superintendent, Juneau  School  District                                                               
(JSD), stated that JSD is using  many of the same tactics already                                                               
discussed by previous superintendent  speakers; therefore, in the                                                               
interest of  time, she would  highlight a  few keys points.   She                                                               
listed   key  concerns   as:      feeding  children,   continuing                                                               
instruction, and  communicating with families and  students.  She                                                               
emphasized that the  increased level of stress  and anxiety among                                                               
families and staff  impacts the work being done.   She said it is                                                               
necessary to "rethink every structure."                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
9:53:53 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
DR.  WEISS  directed  attention   to  a  PowerPoint  presentation                                                               
[included in  the committee packet].   As  shown on slide  3, she                                                               
said JSD scrambled to get  meals provided starting Monday, and by                                                               
the  end of  the week  had  served over  4,400 meals.   She  said                                                               
regulations  are changing  rapidly,  and she  works closely  with                                                               
JSD's food  services director  in changing  how the  district can                                                               
get  food  to  its  families,   particularly  the  special  needs                                                               
population.    She  said  the requirement  to  have  the  student                                                               
present [for pick  up of meals] is just not  possible for some of                                                               
the  district's students.   She  said  she is  excited about  the                                                               
progress being made in this area.                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
DR. WEISS  directed attention  to the next  slide, which  read as                                                               
follows [original punctuation provided]:                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
     Instruction                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
     Equity                                                                                                                     
     Rapid Response                                                                                                             
     Varied approaches                                                                                                          
     Personalized                                                                                                               
     Technology available for all who need it                                                                                   
    Poised   for    success   because   of    previous   PD                                                                     
      opportunities (last night budget approved minus all                                                                       
     previous PD support)                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
DR.  WEISS,  regarding  equity,  said,  "We  don't  want  to  not                                                               
[emphasis on "not"]  do something for some kids  because we can't                                                               
do that exact same  thing for all kids, but we  want to make sure                                                               
that  all kids  have access."   She  said teachers  have done  an                                                               
incredible  job responding  quickly; paraprofessionals  have been                                                               
engaged  reading  stories  to children  via  Facetime  and  phone                                                               
calls;  packages  are  being  delivered  and  are  available  for                                                               
pickup; and instruction is being delivered online.                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
DR.  WEISS  said one  of  the  district's biggest  challenges  is                                                               
concerning its  special education  population, which she  said is                                                               
comprised of  vulnerable families with  complex needs.   She said                                                               
JSD has made  phone calls and teachers have reached  out to their                                                               
students.    She  acknowledged   the  Alaska  Council  of  School                                                               
Administrators (ACSA) and  the Alaska Superintendents Association                                                               
(ASA)  for  their support.    She  said  part  of what  has  been                                                               
possible is  due to  professional development  and its  impact on                                                               
students.   She  said some  of the  professional development  and                                                               
much of the curricula support had  to be cut in the final reading                                                               
of the  [JSD] budget  last night.   She  stressed that  these are                                                               
heart-wrenching  decisions, and  "all those  things get  exposed"                                                               
during any crisis, such as this major [pandemic] crisis.                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
DR.   WEISS  noted   that  the   next  three   slides  depict   a                                                               
"celebration" of  the efforts that  have been made over  the last                                                               
few  days.   She  said people  have really  come  together.   She                                                               
reflected  that "the  unknown  is unnerving."    She stated  that                                                               
somehow JSD is  going to have to  rethink what it has  to do this                                                               
summer and fall to make up  for lost ground, because the district                                                               
will  not have  delivered the  same amount  of instruction  as it                                                               
would have with  children in school every day.   She thanked DEED                                                               
and the community  for the support, as well as  all the staff for                                                               
their hard  work.  She said  JSD is supporting every  employee as                                                               
much as possible  in terms of individual needs, such  as being at                                                               
work or working from home, and  it is reassuring people that they                                                               
will be paid,  and they do play a critical  role in providing for                                                               
needs during a complex time.                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
9:57:54 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR  STORY expressed  her hope  that  JSD communicates  with                                                               
First   Students'   bus   drivers   and   staff,   as   well   as                                                               
paraprofessionals regarding  their roles and  job security.   She                                                               
said  it is  heartening to  see everyone  pulling together.   She                                                               
thanked  Dr.  Weiss  for  her  testimony,  as  well  as  all  the                                                               
presenters that  took the  time to  tell their  story.   She said                                                               
there is  nothing more important  than the wellness  of students,                                                               
and  she  expressed  her  hope  that  the  legislature  would  do                                                               
everything it can to support them.                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
9:59:12 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR DRUMMOND expressed that  the testimony heard today would                                                               
demonstrate  to  Alaskans  how important  schools  are,  and  the                                                               
cooperation demonstrated  throughout the  school system  would be                                                               
"a shining star in this state."  She thanked the testifiers.                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
10:00:02 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
ADJOURNMENT                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
There being no further business before the committee, the House                                                                 
Education Standing Committee meeting was adjourned at 10:00 a.m.                                                                

Document Name Date/Time Subjects
3.20.2020 (H)EDC DEED Coronavirus Update FINAL.pdf HEDC 3/20/2020 8:00:00 AM
DEED Coronavirus Update 3.20.2020
Deena Bishop-House Education COVID-19 Update 3.20.2020.pdf HEDC 3/20/2020 8:00:00 AM
JSD Coronavirus Update 3.20.20.pdf HEDC 3/20/2020 8:00:00 AM