Legislature(2019 - 2020)Anch LIO Lg Conf Rm

07/23/2020 10:00 AM House EDUCATION

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10:08:58 AM Start
10:10:57 AM Presentation(s): Reopening Schools Safely: an Update from Statewide Leaders in Education and Health and the Administration
01:09:27 PM Adjourn
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
-- Teleconference <Listen Only> --
+ Reopening Schools Safely: An Update from TELECONFERENCED
Statewide Leaders in Education and Health as
well as from the Administration
**Streamed live on AKL.tv**
                    ALASKA STATE LEGISLATURE                                                                                  
               HOUSE EDUCATION STANDING COMMITTEE                                                                             
                       Anchorage, Alaska                                                                                        
                         July 23, 2020                                                                                          
                           10:08 a.m.                                                                                           
MEMBERS PRESENT                                                                                                               
Representative Harriet Drummond, Co-Chair                                                                                       
Representative Andi Story, Co-Chair (via teleconference)                                                                        
Representative Grier Hopkins (via teleconference)                                                                               
Representative Chris Tuck (via teleconference)                                                                                  
Representative Tiffany Zulkosky (via teleconference)                                                                            
Representative DeLena Johnson (via teleconference)                                                                              
Representative Mike Prax (via teleconference)                                                                                   
MEMBERS ABSENT                                                                                                                
All members present                                                                                                             
COMMITTEE CALENDAR                                                                                                            
PRESENTATION(S): REOPENING SCHOOLS SAFELY: AN UPDATE FROM                                                                       
STATEWIDE LEADERS IN EDUCATION AND HEALTH AND THE ADMINISTRATION                                                                
     - HEARD                                                                                                                    
OTHER LEGISLATORS PRESENT                                                                                                     
Representative Bryce Edgmon (via teleconference)                                                                                
Representative Dan Ortiz (via teleconference)                                                                                   
PREVIOUS COMMITTEE ACTION                                                                                                     
No previous action to record                                                                                                    
WITNESS REGISTER                                                                                                              
MICHAEL JOHNSON, Ph.D., Commissioner                                                                                            
Department of Education and Early Development                                                                                   
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT:  Co-provided a PowerPoint presentation,                                                                   
entitled "Safely Reopening Alaska Schools for the 2020-2021                                                                     
School Year," dated 7/23/20.                                                                                                    
ANNE ZINK, M.D., FACEP, Chief Medical Officer                                                                                   
Central Office                                                                                                                  
Division of Public Health                                                                                                       
Department of Health and Social Services                                                                                        
Anchorage, Alaska                                                                                                               
POSITION  STATEMENT:    Co-provided   a  PowerPoint  presentation,                                                            
entitled  "Safely  Reopening  Alaska  Schools  for  the  2020-2021                                                              
School Year," dated 7/23/20.                                                                                                    
LACEY SANDERS, Director                                                                                                         
Administrative Services Section                                                                                                 
Department of Education and Early Development                                                                                   
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION  STATEMENT:     Gave  a  PowerPoint   presentation  which                                                            
provided a Federal Education Funding Update.                                                                                    
JO DAWSON, School Food Coordinator                                                                                              
Child Nutrition Services Section                                                                                                
Department of Education and Early Development                                                                                   
POSITION STATEMENT:   Answered a question during  the presentation                                                            
on  "Safely Reopening  Alaska  Schools  for the  2020-2021  School                                                              
TOM KLAAMEYER, President                                                                                                        
National Education Association, Alaska Affiliate                                                                                
Eagle River, Alaska                                                                                                             
POSITION  STATEMENT:   Gave  a presentation  regarding  "Reopening                                                            
Schools Safely."                                                                                                                
LISA S. PARADY, Ph.D., Executive Director                                                                                       
Alaska Council of School Administrators                                                                                         
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION   STATEMENT:     Co-presented   a  PowerPoint,   entitled                                                            
"Providing  a Safe  Smart Start  for Alaska  Public Schools  2020-                                                              
2021 District Plans."                                                                                                           
KERRY BOYD, Superintendent                                                                                                      
Yukon-Koyukuk School District                                                                                                   
Fairbanks, Alaska                                                                                                               
POSITION  STATEMENT:     Co-presented  the   PowerPoint,  entitled                                                            
"Providing  a Safe  Smart Start  for Alaska  Public Schools  2020-                                                              
2021 District Plans."                                                                                                           
JOHN CONWELL, Superintendent                                                                                                    
Unalaska City School District                                                                                                   
Unalaska, Alaska                                                                                                                
POSITION  STATEMENT:     Co-presented  the   PowerPoint,  entitled                                                            
"Providing  a Safe  Smart Start  for Alaska  Public Schools  2020-                                                              
2021 District Plans."                                                                                                           
BRIDGET WEISS, Ph.D., Superintendent                                                                                            
Juneau School District                                                                                                          
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT:  Co-presented the PowerPoint, entitled                                                                    
"Providing a Safe Smart Start for Alaska Public Schools 2020-                                                                   
2021 District Plans."                                                                                                           
TERRI WALKER, Superintendent                                                                                                    
Northwest Arctic Borough School District                                                                                        
POSITION STATEMENT:  Co-presented the PowerPoint, entitled                                                                    
"Providing a Safe Smart Start for Alaska Public Schools 2020-                                                                   
2021 District Plans."                                                                                                           
DEENA M. BISHOP, Ed.D., Superintendent                                                                                          
Anchorage School District                                                                                                       
Anchorage, Alaska                                                                                                               
POSITION STATEMENT:  Co-presented the PowerPoint, entitled                                                                    
"Providing a Safe Smart Start for Alaska Public Schools 2020-                                                                   
2021 District Plans."                                                                                                           
BETH LOUGEE, Superintendent                                                                                                     
Ketchikan Gateway Borough School District                                                                                       
Ketchikan, Alaska                                                                                                               
POSITION STATEMENT:  Co-presented the PowerPoint, entitled                                                                    
"Providing a Safe Smart Start for Alaska Public Schools 2020-                                                                   
2021 District Plans."                                                                                                           
JOHN O'BRIEN, Ph.D., Superintendent                                                                                             
Kenai Peninsula Borough School District                                                                                         
Kenai, Alaska                                                                                                                   
POSITION STATEMENT:  Co-presented the PowerPoint, entitled                                                                    
"Providing a Safe Smart Start for Alaska Public Schools 2020-                                                                   
2021 District Plans."                                                                                                           
CLAYTON HOLLAND, Assistant Superintendent                                                                                       
Kenai Peninsula Borough School District                                                                                         
Kenai, Alaska                                                                                                                   
POSITION STATEMENT:  Co-presented the PowerPoint, entitled                                                                    
"Providing a Safe Smart Start for Alaska Public Schools 2020 -                                                                  
2021 District Plans."                                                                                                           
DAVE JONES, Assistant Superintendent for Instructional Support                                                                  
Kenai Peninsula Borough School District                                                                                         
Kenai, Alaska                                                                                                                   
POSITION  STATEMENT:     Co-presented  the   PowerPoint,  entitled                                                            
"Providing  a Safe  Smart Start  for Alaska  Public Schools  2020-                                                              
2021 District Plans."                                                                                                           
SHAWN ARNOLD, Superintendent                                                                                                    
Valdez City Schools;                                                                                                            
President, Alaska Superintendents Association                                                                                   
Valdez, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION  STATEMENT:     Co-presented  the   PowerPoint,  entitled                                                            
"Providing  a Safe  Smart Start  for Alaska  Public Schools  2020-                                                              
2021 District Plans."                                                                                                           
ACTION NARRATIVE                                                                                                              
10:08:58 AM                                                                                                                   
CO-CHAIR  HARRIET DRUMMOND  called  the House  Education  Standing                                                            
Committee meeting  to order at  10:08 a.m.  Representatives  Story                                                              
(via teleconference),  Johnson (via teleconference),  Hopkins (via                                                              
teleconference),   Zulkosky   (via  teleconference),   Tuck   (via                                                              
teleconference),  Prax  (via teleconference),  and  Drummond  were                                                              
present at the  call to order.  Also present  were Representatives                                                              
Edgmon (via teleconference) and Ortiz (via teleconference).                                                                     
^PRESENTATION(S):  Reopening   Schools  Safely:  An   Update  from                                                              
Statewide Leaders in Education and Health and the Administration                                                                
   PRESENTATION(S): Reopening Schools Safely: An Update from                                                                
Statewide Leaders in Education and Health and the Administration                                                            
10:10:57 AM                                                                                                                   
CO-CHAIR  DRUMMOND  announced  that  the only  order  of  business                                                              
would be  an update  on reopening  schools safely, from  statewide                                                              
leaders in education and health, as well as the administration.                                                                 
10:13:14 AM                                                                                                                   
MICHAEL  JOHNSON,  Ph.D., Commissioner,  Department  of  Education                                                              
and Early Development  (DEED), estimated it had  been three months                                                              
since he  last updated the  House Education Standing  Committee on                                                              
the  statewide  efforts  to  ensure   continued  student  learning                                                              
during the  COVID-19 pandemic.  He  said a lot has  happened since                                                              
then, and  more is  known about the  virus.  He  said he  would be                                                              
presenting  alongside  Anne  Zink,  M.D.,  of  the  Department  of                                                              
Health and  Social Services,  to whom  he expressed gratitude  for                                                              
her  work alongside  Governor  Mike  Dunleavy  "to inform  us,  to                                                              
guide us, to keep  us steady" and for the sacrifices  she has made                                                              
for Alaskans.   He emphasized the  collaboration of DEED  and DHSS                                                              
in  preparing  for the  upcoming  school  year.   He  acknowledged                                                              
members  of "the  education team."   Referring  to the  PowerPoint                                                              
presentation,  entitled "Safely Reopening  Alaska Schools  for the                                                              
2020-2021  School  Year,"  he listed  the  three  categories  that                                                              
would be covered,  as shown on slide 2:  Science  & Data Regarding                                                              
COVID-19  and Children;  School  Reopening  Guidance and  Support;                                                              
and  Federal  Education  Funding  Update.    He  then  turned  the                                                              
presentation over to Dr. Zink.                                                                                                  
10:17:28 AM                                                                                                                   
ANNE ZINK,  M.D., FACEP,  Chief Medical  Officer, Central  Office,                                                              
Division  of  Public  Health,  Department  of  Health  and  Social                                                              
Services   (DHSS),  prefaced   the   PowerPoint  presentation   by                                                              
expressing  appreciation  for  all  involved  in  the  process  of                                                              
learning the  science and data  of COVID-19.   She said  she would                                                              
talk about  three basic  categories:  Children  and their  risk of                                                              
COVID-19;  teachers  and  their  risk  of  transmission;  and  the                                                              
science and  education behind teaching  as a whole.   She remarked                                                              
on the  changing nature of  information, as new  discoveries about                                                              
the virus are  made, emphasizing that information can  change in a                                                              
matter  of just  a couple  weeks.   She recognized  the hard  work                                                              
being done by superintendents.                                                                                                  
DR.  ZINK turned  to  the PowerPoint  presentation  she would  co-                                                              
present, entitled "Safely Reopening Alaska Schools for the 2020-                                                                
2021  School Year."   She  directed  attention to  slide 4,  which                                                              
read as follows [original punctuation provided]:                                                                                
     COVID-19 risks to children                                                                                                 
      ? Most children have mild symptoms or no symptoms if                                                                      
     they get COVID-19                                                                                                          
     ? Deaths in children are rare but have happened                                                                            
      ? Children with underlying medical conditions are at                                                                      
     greater risk of severe illness if they get COVID-19                                                                        
     ? Diabetes                                                                                                                 
       ? Obesity (between ? and ½ of Alaska children are                                                                        
     overweight or obese)                                                                                                       
     ? Chronic lung disease                                                                                                     
     ? High blood pressure                                                                                                      
       ? Tobacco use (10.9% of Alaska teens had smoked a                                                                        
      cigarette in the last month in a 2017 survey, 15.7%                                                                       
     had used a vape pen)                                                                                                       
       ? Multisystem inflammatory syndrome is reported in                                                                       
     children and can have devastating effects                                                                                  
DR.  ZINK  then  focused  on  slide   5,  which  read  as  follows                                                              
[original punctuation provided]:                                                                                                
     COVID-19: What we know about long term effects                                                                             
     ?  At  6  months in,  nobody  has  been  recovered  long                                                                   
     enough for true long-term effects                                                                                          
     ?  Many  survivors  of  SARS   and  MERS,  coronaviruses                                                                   
     causing   disease  like   severe   COVID-19,  had   lung                                                                   
     problems,  bone  problems,  fatigue  and  PTSD  symptoms                                                                   
     that lasted for years or decades                                                                                           
     ?  COVID-19  survivors report  lasting  fatigue,  muscle                                                                   
     aches,  shortness   of  breath,  even  in   some  young,                                                                   
     previously healthy people with mild COVID-19                                                                               
     ? People  who had to be  in ICUs report  fatigue, aches,                                                                   
     shortness of breath as well as PTSD symptoms                                                                               
     ?  One   study  found  that   only  12.6%  of   patients                                                                   
     hospitalized  with   COVID-19  were  symptom   free  two                                                                   
     months later;  44% reported  worse quality of  life; 53%                                                                   
     had  fatigue;  43%  had difficulty  breathing;  27%  had                                                                   
     joint pain; 22% had chest pain                                                                                             
DR.  ZINK related  that  the  study was  done  in  Italy from  143                                                              
patients  with  an average  age  of  56.5  years; 5  percent  were                                                              
intubated; all were hospitalized.                                                                                               
10:21:37 AM                                                                                                                   
DR.  ZINK  addressed  the  role   children  play  in  transmitting                                                              
diseases.    She  said  school can  be  "an  effective  place  for                                                              
transmission"  of highly  contagious  diseases.   She covered  the                                                              
information  on   slide  6,  which   read  as  follows   [original                                                              
punctuation provided]:                                                                                                          
     COVID-19 transmission in children                                                                                          
     ? Evidence is limited                                                                                                      
     ? Children  under age 10 may  be less likely to  get the                                                                   
     virus  and less  likely  to give  it  to others  (10-50%                                                                   
     less, depending on the study)                                                                                              
     ? Children  under age  10 may also  be the least  likely                                                                   
     to leave the  house during periods of  restriction, when                                                                   
     many of these  studies were conducted, so  may have been                                                                   
     exposed less                                                                                                               
     ? Children  over age  10 appear  to be  able to get  the                                                                   
     virus  and give  it  to others  at  least  as easily  as                                                                   
     adults can                                                                                                                 
     ?  In  one South  Korean  study  of 60,000  contacts  of                                                                   
     5,700  cases, children  age  10-18 were  more likely  to                                                                   
     give  it  to  other  members  of  their  household  than                                                                   
     adults were                                                                                                                
     ?  We  cannot  rely on  all  children  having  decreased                                                                   
     transmission dynamics                                                                                                      
DR. ZINK continued to the information on slide 7, which read as                                                                 
follows [original punctuation provided]:                                                                                        
     School reopening: projected community effects                                                                              
     ? Anytime  we have  increased numbers  of people  coming                                                                   
     into  contact  with  each   other  we  expect  increased                                                                   
     opportunities for viral transmission                                                                                       
     ?  Physical distancing,  face  coverings, hand  hygiene,                                                                   
     and encouraging  people to stay  home when sick  are the                                                                   
     mainstays of prevention                                                                                                    
     ?  Whether  a  community  sees   increased  cases  after                                                                   
     school reopening depends a great deal on:                                                                                  
          ? Community transmission rates                                                                                        
          ? Other  community factors  (Use face coverings  in                                                                   
     public,  community  gatherings,  density  of  population                                                                   
          ? Children  and others  staying home when  they are                                                                   
          ?  Maximizing   prevention  measures   (distancing,                                                                   
     face coverings, hygiene, cohorts) in schools                                                                               
DR. ZINK, regarding the first bullet point, noted that the                                                                      
Center for Disease Control (CDC) has defined close contact as                                                                   
greater than 15 minutes within six feet of another person.                                                                      
DR. ZINK moved on to slide 8, which read as follows [original                                                                   
punctuation provided]:                                                                                                          
     Risks of NOT reopening                                                                                                     
     ? The  American Academy  of Pediatrics  issued a  strong                                                                   
     recommendation  in  favor of  holding  school in  person                                                                   
     whenever possible starting Fall 2020                                                                                       
     ? Social interaction is key to child development                                                                           
     ? Many children  experience barriers that  make distance                                                                   
     learning less than ideal                                                                                                   
          ? Insufficient access to internet or computer                                                                         
          ? Learning disabilities                                                                                               
          ? Language barriers                                                                                                   
          ? Young  children in particular may not  learn well                                                                   
     ?  Schools also  provide services  difficult to  deliver                                                                   
          ? School meal programs                                                                                                
          ? Physical activity                                                                                                   
          ? After school childcare                                                                                              
          ? Child abuse detection                                                                                               
     ?  Significant  economic  effect if  parents  must  stay                                                                   
     home or find childcare                                                                                                     
DR. ZINK  said all these factors  must be taken into  account when                                                              
making decisions going forward.                                                                                                 
10:25:23 AM                                                                                                                   
DR. ZINK  moved on  to slide  9, which  read as follows  [original                                                              
punctuation provided]:                                                                                                          
     Student    Mental    Health   Supports    Routine    and                                                                   
     ? Last  year, DEED in  partnership with the  Association                                                                   
     of   Alaska   School   Boards,   released   Transforming                                                                   
     Schools:  A  Framework for  Trauma-Engaged  Practice  in                                                                   
     ?  In  August,   DEED  will  be  releasing   the  online                                                                   
     Transforming  Schools  Trauma   Toolkit  for  educators,                                                                   
     which  is specifically  designed to  address stress  and                                                                   
     anxiety for children and adults                                                                                            
DR. ZINK  said children's  mental  health is  a continued  area of                                                              
focus for both DHSS  and DEED.  She said during  a time of stress,                                                              
providing  routine and predictable  education  is essential.   She                                                              
talked  about the  stress  students may  feel  about returning  to                                                              
school, and she  emphasized that "mental health  services ... must                                                              
be a part of every school's planning for in-person instruction."                                                                
DR.  ZINK covered  the  information  on slide  10,  which read  as                                                              
follows [original punctuation provided]:                                                                                        
     Alaska's school risk mitigation approach                                                                                   
     ?Watch community case levels                                                                                               
     ?Watch for early warning signs of cases in schools                                                                         
     ?Be ready to switch to distance learning                                                                                   
     ?Maximize physical  distancing, wearing  face coverings,                                                                   
     ?Minimize mixing                                                                                                           
     ?Age-appropriate  cohorting [sic] as an  additional risk                                                                   
     mitigation strategy                                                                                                        
DR. ZINK  moved on  to slide  11, which  addresses community  case                                                              
level indexes  with two maps  of the state.   The map on  the left                                                              
shows a  seven-day case rate  map [cases/100,000 people],  and the                                                              
map on the right  depicts Alaska COVID-19 alert  levels, which Dr.                                                              
Zink called  a "14-day case alert  map."  She said the  14-day map                                                              
will show a more  stable look, while the 7-day map  has a gradated                                                              
scale.   She proffered,  "You can  also hover  over those  regions                                                              
and get the  actual number."  She  stated, "These are  going to be                                                              
applied  to  behavioral  health   regions,  because  that's  where                                                              
people  move,  and they  have  at  least  20,000 people  in  their                                                              
community."   She imparted  that this is  a tool that  communities                                                              
and schools can use to estimate transmission levels.                                                                            
10:28:20 AM                                                                                                                   
DR. ZINK  continued to slide 12,  which read as  follows [original                                                              
punctuation provided]:                                                                                                          
     Early warning signs                                                                                                        
     ? Schools to perform symptom screening                                                                                     
     ?  If several  children in  a school  or community  have                                                                   
     new symptoms, will draw increased attention                                                                                
          ?  If they  are contacts  of  each other,  consider                                                                   
     small outbreak                                                                                                             
          ?  If   they  are  not  contacts,   consider  large                                                                   
     undetected   outbreak    or   increase    in   community                                                                   
     ? Can  isolate specific cohorts  or classrooms  to avoid                                                                   
     closing schools                                                                                                            
10:32:29 AM                                                                                                                   
DR. ZINK,  in response  to Representative  Zulkosky, repeated  the                                                              
statistic regarding youth.                                                                                                      
10:33:50 AM                                                                                                                   
REPRESENTATIVE  HOPKINS  referred  to  the 14-day  model  map  and                                                              
asked  for an explanation  of what  each color  indicated  and how                                                              
the  colors  correlate with  the  red,  green, and  yellow  "Smart                                                              
Start" levels.                                                                                                                  
10:34:26 AM                                                                                                                   
DR. ZINK answered  that the maps are tools that  may not correlate                                                              
"one-to-one"  with the  Smart Start  colors, because  some of  the                                                              
areas on the map  are quite large.  For example,  some communities                                                              
are 300 miles  apart, with a wide variance in  transmission rates,                                                              
yet they  exist within  the same  behavioral  health region.   She                                                              
said communities  may have a better  sense of a rising  risk prior                                                              
to it  being reflected  in "the  dashboard."   In Anchorage  it is                                                              
easier to  use this  tool because  it is  one school district  and                                                              
one community  zone.  Remote locations  will have to  work closely                                                              
with  their  medical  providers   "to  use  these  tools  to  make                                                              
meaningful  decisions  at  a  local level."    She  explained  the                                                              
reason for  the two  different maps  is that  the 7-day  map shows                                                              
big  spikes and  drops  in outbreaks;  there  will be  a lot  more                                                              
fluctuation  and  variability in  the  data.   She  indicated  the                                                              
alert  levels are  more stable  when  averaged over  the 14  days,                                                              
which  can provide  more support  to communities  by showing  what                                                              
the  transition  looks like.    She  deferred to  Joe  McLaughlin,                                                              
M.D.,  the chief  of epidemiology,  for further  questions on  the                                                              
topic.   In  response to  a follow-up  question,  she said  [DHSS]                                                              
encourages  communities to  work  with their  local medical  teams                                                              
and create  a task force to  understand the data  and information.                                                              
She  said DHSS  has  health nurses  assigned  to every  community,                                                              
even  if they  may not  live on  site, to  ensure communities  are                                                              
understanding information and risk levels.                                                                                      
10:38:50 AM                                                                                                                   
REPRESENTATIVE  JOHNSON,  regarding   incoming  data  and  trends,                                                              
asked how  quickly a  spread could happen  and how responsive  the                                                              
schools could be.                                                                                                               
DR  ZINK answered  that  there can  be  significant  delays.   She                                                              
outlined the  chain of events:   A person does not feel  well; the                                                              
person gets  tested; it can  take a while  for the test  result to                                                              
come back; the case  is recorded on "the dashboard";  and the case                                                              
becomes part of a 14-day average.  She continued:                                                                               
     You  could have a  large community  outbreak that  would                                                                   
     take   a  while   to  show   up  in   the  overt   level                                                                   
     specifically,   and  that   is  why  we're   encouraging                                                                   
     communities   to   work   with    their   local   health                                                                   
     authorities  and  their  local  health  departments  and                                                                   
     their   public  health   nurses  [to]   have  a   better                                                                   
     understanding  of what's  happening  in that  community,                                                                   
     to make  sure that we're  not overly sensitive  to those                                                                   
     changes, but  also not delayed  in the response -  to be                                                                   
     able ...  to respond  to what's  happening from a  local                                                                   
DR.  ZINK said  the people  "on  the ground"  will  have the  best                                                              
sense  of  the  trends.   She  said  DHSS  appreciates  that  many                                                              
communities and  emergency operations  centers (EOCs)  are setting                                                              
up their  own dashboards.  She  indicated that [the  colored maps]                                                              
will be better with  respect to moving down from  red to orange or                                                              
orange to  yellow as  cases decline but  will definitely  lag with                                                              
respect to the moving up phases.                                                                                                
10:41:15 AM                                                                                                                   
REPRESENTATIVE  JOHNSON  said  many  decisions  are  made  at  the                                                              
district  level,  and  she  understood   that  the  department  is                                                              
working on  guidelines.   She asked  Commissioner Johnson  whether                                                              
the department has  recommendations, based on levels  of community                                                              
spread, about  when districts would  have their students  moved to                                                              
virtual classroom learning.                                                                                                     
10:42:08 AM                                                                                                                   
COMMISSIONER  JOHNSON  responded  that  he  thought  some  of  his                                                              
upcoming presentation  would provide an answer.   Nevertheless, he                                                              
said  districts  are  working  hard  to  ensure  the  delivery  of                                                              
education during this  pandemic, and it is not  something that can                                                              
be done based on  only one metric.  He gave  examples of decisions                                                              
he has  had to  make based  on singular  data versus more  complex                                                              
input.   He echoed Dr. Zink's  remark that individual  communities                                                              
receiving  information from  their  local  health authorities  are                                                              
going  to  gather  information  pertaining  to  their  communities                                                              
before it reaches the trend maps.                                                                                               
10:44:14 AM                                                                                                                   
CO-CHAIR STORY asked Dr. Zink about child obesity in Alaska.                                                                    
10:45:17 AM                                                                                                                   
DR.  ZINK assured  Representative  Story  that DHSS  continues  to                                                              
work  on all  health issues,  including obesity,  even during  the                                                              
pandemic, and she offered to supply further information.                                                                        
CO-CHAIR STORY  opined that it is  important for DHSS to  get that                                                              
information out to  the general public, and she  said [obesity] is                                                              
something that Alaskans can work [to prevent or reverse].                                                                       
10:46:01 AM                                                                                                                   
COMMISSIONER  JOHNSON resumed  the  PowerPoint  presentation.   He                                                              
covered  the  information  on  slide 18,  which  read  as  follows                                                              
[original punctuation provided]:                                                                                                
    Supporting    teachers,    students,    families,    and                                                                    
      Guiding principle: Teaching, learning, and activity                                                                       
     are the constants. COVID -19 is the variable.                                                                              
COMMISSIONER  JOHNSON  emphasized   the  importance  of  educating                                                              
children, the frustration  and disruptiveness of  the coronavirus,                                                              
and  the importance  of  working  together  to ensure  the  former                                                              
while  overcoming the  latter.   He talked about  the benefits  of                                                              
aklearns.org,  listed   on  slide   19,  which  read   as  follows                                                              
[original punctuation provided]:                                                                                                
     School Reopening Guidance and Support                                                                                      
     Online Resources                                                                                                           
     ? aklearns.org                                                                                                             
     ? education.alaska.gov                                                                                                     
     ? Restart Guidance (last revised July 15, 2020)                                                                            
     Professional Development and Informational Webinars                                                                        
     ? ZOOM sessions                                                                                                            
      ?   Spring   Smart   Start    2020   Series   (475+                                                                       
          ? Summer Smart Start 2020 Summit in August                                                                            
     ? ECHO sessions                                                                                                            
          ? School Health (Tue, 3pm)                                                                                            
          ? Classroom Teachers (Wed, 1pm)                                                                                       
COMMISSIONER  JOHNSON directed  attention  to  the information  on                                                              
slide 20, which read as follows [original punctuation provided]:                                                                
     School Restart Guidance                                                                                                    
     ? Last revised July 15, 2020                                                                                               
          ? Local school districts need the authority,                                                                          
      responsibility, and flexibility to make decisions to                                                                      
     be responsive to their communities.                                                                                        
          ? DEED and DHSS' joint mission is to provide                                                                          
       information, resources, and leadership to support                                                                        
     districts in these tough decisions                                                                                         
          ? District Plans Tracker:                                                                                             
          ? Guidance:                                                                                                           
COMMISSIONER  JOHNSON said  that  in partnership  with DHSS,  DEED                                                              
released  a framework  guidance  to kindergarten  through  twelfth                                                              
grade  (k-12) schools  for the upcoming  2021  school year.   This                                                              
guidance establishes  health parameters for the safe  operation of                                                              
schools  in  low-,  medium-,  and  high-risk  environments.    The                                                              
guidance  will  continually  be  updated as  more  information  is                                                              
released  from the  CDC and other  organizations.   He noted  that                                                              
the  guidance   was  built  on   the  recommendations   of  health                                                              
officials  and   in  collaborative  conversation   with  education                                                              
stakeholders; it  is aligned with  opening guidelines  provided by                                                              
state and  federal leaders, and  it is designed to  help districts                                                              
prioritize the  health and  safety of students  and teachers.   He                                                              
expressed  thanks   to  Dr.   Parady  for  facilitating   numerous                                                              
meetings  identifying many  of  the elements  in  the Smart  Start                                                              
plan.    He  said  DEED  is  requesting  each  district  use  this                                                              
framework  to  develop  a  comprehensive  plan  for  teaching  and                                                              
learning and to  submit the plan to the department,  via an online                                                              
Google form.   He indicated this  information will be  provided to                                                              
the  public.   He emphasized  that  the plans  visible online  are                                                              
currently in the process of being formulated.                                                                                   
10:51:14 AM                                                                                                                   
COMMISSIONER   JOHNSON,   in   response   to   a   question   from                                                              
Representative  Hopkins,  reiterated  that  DEED is  asking  every                                                              
district to work  with its local health officials.   Additionally,                                                              
he said,  Elizabeth Ohlsen, M.D.,  [Staff Physician for  DHSS], is                                                              
helping  those districts  that  have more  difficulty  identifying                                                              
local  health  officials.    He  told  Representative  Hopkins  he                                                              
thought  he would  hear some  excellent  examples of  how this  is                                                              
working when superintendents present later during the meeting.                                                                  
REPRESENTATIVE  HOPKINS  explained he  was  concerned about  those                                                              
districts that do  not have the local health  officials with which                                                              
to collaborate.                                                                                                                 
COMMISSIONER  JOHNSON  invited  Representative  Hopkins  to  share                                                              
information about any  districts with which he would  like DEED to                                                              
work.    He  assured  him  that  the  department  reaches  out  to                                                              
10:54:42 AM                                                                                                                   
COMMISSIONER JOHNSON,  in response to a query  from Representative                                                              
Zulkosky  as to  what  conversations  have been  held  by DEED  to                                                              
identify "that we're  really not in a low-risk  environment during                                                              
our  global pandemic,"  acknowledged  that  there  is always  some                                                              
level of  risk.  He said  the department is continually  assessing                                                              
the risk.  He deferred to Dr. Zink.                                                                                             
10:57:49 AM                                                                                                                   
DR. ZINK confirmed  that everyone is at some degree  of risk.  She                                                              
indicated  that  this  is  reflected in  the  varying  risk  level                                                              
colors on the  alert dashboard and by both statewide  and targeted                                                              
messaging about  social distancing, wearing masks,  washing hands,                                                              
and  "keeping your  [social]  bubble small."    Further, there  is                                                              
ongoing  surveillance and  testing  across the  state.   She  said                                                              
decisions  can be  made  based  on transmission,  risk  tolerance,                                                              
adverse  effects of  not  conducting school  or  businesses.   She                                                              
said the dashboard  shows overall state levels  and rising trends.                                                              
She  spoke of  the connection  worldwide wherein  higher cases  in                                                              
the Lower 48 can mean higher risk for Alaska.                                                                                   
10:59:37 AM                                                                                                                   
REPRESENTATIVE  DRUMMOND noted  that she  had just  looked at  the                                                              
DHSS dashboard and the interactive maps.                                                                                        
11:00:31 AM                                                                                                                   
REPRESENTATIVE ZULKOSKY  asked how DEED would address  a situation                                                              
in which  a school district disagrees  with the assessment  of its                                                              
local health officials.                                                                                                         
11:00:53 AM                                                                                                                   
COMMISSIONER  JOHNSON said he  has not  had that conversation  and                                                              
has not  been made  aware of that  circumstance.   If he  were, he                                                              
would  follow up  with the  district and  "have that  conversation                                                              
with the team."                                                                                                                 
11:01:26 AM                                                                                                                   
COMMISSIONER JOHNSON  returned to the PowerPoint.   He spoke about                                                              
the Summer  Smart Start  2020 Summit,  information shown  on slide                                                              
21, which read as follows [original punctuation provided]:                                                                      
     Summer Smart Start 2020 Summit in August                                                                                   
     ? Virtual, multi-day professional development event                                                                        
     ? August 4  27, 2020                                                                                                       
        ? Mondays offer sessions developing communities                                                                         
       around various topics, collaborating in size-alike                                                                       
           ? Tuesdays present specific topics within                                                                            
     Capacities and Conditions for Learning;                                                                                    
         ? Wednesdays provide opportunities for Virtual                                                                         
     Consultations; and                                                                                                         
            Thursdays focus on the Continuity of Learning.                                                                      
     ? https://aklearns.org/smartwebinar/                                                                                       
COMMISSIONER  JOHNSON   related  that  summit  session   had  been                                                              
developed   for  stakeholders,   teachers,   administrators,   and                                                              
parents,  and he  invited the  committee  members to  participate.                                                              
He  said the  goal  of the  summit  is collaboration,  sharing  of                                                              
resources,  and development  and refinement  of the restart  plan.                                                              
He  moved  on  to  slide  22,  which  read  as  follows  [original                                                              
punctuation provided]:                                                                                                          
     ECHO Information Sessions                                                                                                  
     ? DEED & DHSS co-host weekly webinars                                                                                      
        ? Technical support provided by Project ECHO at                                                                         
     ? School Health ECHO Series (Tue, 3pm)                                                                                     
      ?      Superintendents,     Principals,      School                                                                       
     Health/Nurse Leaders                                                                                                       
     ? Classroom Teacher ECHO Series (Wed, 1pm)                                                                                 
          ? Current classroom teachers                                                                                          
     ? Alaska ECHO Projects:                                                                                                    
     health/departments/center-for-human-     development/AK-                                                                   
COMMISSIONER JOHNSON  said these  sessions cover topics  including                                                              
the  following:     how  to   establish  a  school   health  team;                                                              
determining  a  protocol   team  for  when  a   positive  case  is                                                              
identified;   and   building  communication   plans   for   health                                                              
protocols in  schools.  He  said the first  meeting was  held this                                                              
week, and over  90 school health officials participated.   He said                                                              
the second  session is focused on  classroom teachers, and  he and                                                              
Dr. Zink  answer questions posed  by teachers.  He  explained that                                                              
in an  echo session,  they answer  questions  from the field,  and                                                              
then that gets echoed to the wider community.                                                                                   
COMMISSIONER JOHNSON  offered to  answer questions before  turning                                                              
the  PowerPoint  presentation  over  to Lacy  Sanders,  who  would                                                              
provide an update on federal education funding.                                                                                 
11:05:07 AM                                                                                                                   
COMMISSIONER  JOHNSON, in  response  to a  question from  Co-Chair                                                              
Story, as  to how support  professionals are being  informed, said                                                              
the sessions are  available to them.  He said the  support team at                                                              
DHSS  is  working  daily  to  support   individual  groups.    For                                                              
example,  he   related  that  "the   facilities  team"   has  been                                                              
researching  building  ventilation and  how  it may  mitigate  the                                                              
spread of  the virus.   He  said, "That's  true for each  division                                                              
and unit in the department."                                                                                                    
11:06:53 AM                                                                                                                   
COMMISSIONER   JOHNSON,   in   response   to   a   question   from                                                              
Representative Johnson  regarding how much money was  saved by not                                                              
having schools  open the last portion  of the school year  and how                                                              
that may affect  future funding, said some of  that information is                                                              
not  yet  available.    He said  DEED  applied  for  every  waiver                                                              
possible that  would allow districts  to carry over  their federal                                                              
monies.    He   said  Governor  Dunleavy,  through   the  disaster                                                              
declaration,  allowed  districts   to  carry  over  more  than  10                                                              
percent,  if needed.   Districts have  been working  on this.   He                                                              
said  Ms. Sanders  would  share  information regarding  CARES  Act                                                              
money  and some of  the waivers  that allowed  districts to  carry                                                              
over  the money.   He said  that money  can be  applied to  future                                                              
expenses, which districts may not even be able to name yet.                                                                     
11:08:43 AM                                                                                                                   
COMMISSIONER   JOHNSON,   in   response   to   a   question   from                                                              
Representative Hopkins  as to whether DEED would  be accepting all                                                              
plans from school  districts as is or requiring  changes, said the                                                              
department does  not have the  authority to approve  or disapprove                                                              
plans.   He said  DEED and "Dr.  Ohlsen and  the team  there" will                                                              
review them and  provide feedback to districts.   He indicated the                                                              
authority  to approve  plans lies  with local  school boards.   He                                                              
added that superintendents  are being given "the  flexibility they                                                              
need to lead in a crisis that develops day by day."                                                                             
11:10:12 AM                                                                                                                   
LACEY   SANDERS,  Director,   Administrative   Services   Section,                                                              
Department of Education  and Early Development, gave  a PowerPoint                                                              
presentation providing  a Federal  Education Funding Update.   [In                                                              
the committee  packet, Ms.  Sanders' PowerPoint  is adjoined  with                                                              
the previous PowerPoint  from Dr. Zink and  Commissioner Johnson.]                                                              
She reminded  the committee  of  her previous  address to  them in                                                              
late  April and  that the  CARES  Act included  $30.75 billion  in                                                              
emergency  education  funding  to  states.    She  said  the  U.S.                                                              
Department  of Education  (DoE)  allocated  funds  to three  pots:                                                              
the state  education agencies for  state activities and  grants to                                                              
school  districts;  governors'  discretionary  funds;  and  higher                                                              
education.  She  said today's information would  address the first                                                              
two pots.   She directed  attention to  slide 25, the  headings of                                                              
which read  as follows [original  punctuation provided,  with some                                                              
formatting changes]:                                                                                                            
     CARES Act: General Education Funding Update ($44.9M)                                                                       
     Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Fund                                                                      
     Governor's Emergency Education Relief Fund                                                                                 
MS. SANDERS  related that  out of the  $44.9 million  allocated to                                                              
the  State of  Alaska,  approximately 86  percent  went to  school                                                              
districts;  8 percent went  to DEED  to distribute through  grants                                                              
and contracts;  3 percent went to  the University of  Alaska (UA);                                                              
1  percent  went to  the  Alaska  Native Science  and  Engineering                                                              
Program  (ANSEP); 10  percent went  to grants  to other  education                                                              
entities;  and  less  than  1  percent   went  to  DEED  to  cover                                                              
administrative costs.   She said DEED's website  offers a detailed                                                              
breakdown by school.   She stated, "All of the above  funds that I                                                              
have listed  to outside  entities,  with the  exception of  the $1                                                              
million  in  grant to  other  education  entities, has  been  made                                                              
available to  spend."  She  noted Alaska  is ahead of  most states                                                              
in  this  regard.    She  said  the  $1  million  grant  to  other                                                              
education  entities, through  the  Governor's Emergency  Education                                                              
Relief (GEER)  Fund was  publicized by  DEED in  June.   She said,                                                              
"The purpose  of the  competitive grant  is to provide  education-                                                              
related   entities  the   opportunity   to  establish   innovative                                                              
strategies   to  carry   out  emergency   education  services   to                                                              
students, childcare  and early  childcare education,  cultural and                                                              
emotional support,  and to support  education-related jobs."   She                                                              
said grant amounts  range from $20,000 to $250,000.   She said the                                                              
application   period   has   closed,    and   DEED   received   67                                                              
applications,  which  it is  reviewing.   These  applications  are                                                              
available to view on the department's website under "forms."                                                                    
11:13:59 AM                                                                                                                   
MS. SANDERS noted  that slide 26 provides an  additional breakdown                                                              
of  the aforementioned  grant  allocations.   She  then turned  to                                                              
slide 27, which read as follows [original punctuation provided]:                                                                
     CARES Act: Child Nutrition Programs Update ($41.8M)                                                                        
     ? DEED's Child Nutrition Programs received $41,869,616                                                                     
        in CARES Act funding from the U.S. Department of                                                                        
     Agriculture (USDA)                                                                                                         
          ?      Purpose:     Paying     National      School                                                                   
     Lunch/Breakfast,  Special  Milk,  Child and  Adult  Care                                                                   
     Food,  and  Summer  Food  Service   Program  claims  for                                                                   
     reimbursement for meals served                                                                                             
          ? Time Period: March 2020 - September 2020                                                                            
        ? Allowable expenses: These funds are to support                                                                        
     the school nutrition program                                                                                               
MS.  SANDERS reported  that approximately  $17.3  million of  this                                                              
funding has  been dispersed  to school districts.   She  said, "As                                                              
of  right  now,  our  regular  block  grant  will  pay  for  child                                                              
nutrition programs after September 2020."                                                                                       
11:14:54 AM                                                                                                                   
CO-CHAIR DRUMMOND  asked what the  usual allocation of  funds from                                                              
the USDA to the State of Alaska for child nutrition funding is.                                                                 
MS. SANDERS deferred to Jo Dawson.                                                                                              
11:15:27 AM                                                                                                                   
JO  DAWSON,  School Food  Coordinator,  Child  Nutrition  Services                                                              
Section,  Department  of  Education and  Early  Development,  said                                                              
DEED traditionally  receives a block grant annually  from USDA; it                                                              
is approximately  $61 million.   She said DEED received  CARES Act                                                              
funding in  March that replaced  the block grant for  the duration                                                              
of COVID-19  response through September  20, 2020.   She explained                                                              
that  the funding  the department  normally receives  is still  in                                                              
11:16:56 AM                                                                                                                   
CO-CHAIR STORY  noted there  was a $30  million cut  to districts,                                                              
and  she asked  Ms.  Sanders what  the  conversation  has been  in                                                              
terms of how to pay for operations.                                                                                             
11:17:38 AM                                                                                                                   
MS.  SANDERS answered  that  the school  districts  have a  three-                                                              
schoolyear  time  period  in  which  to spend  the  funds.    This                                                              
funding and the  Elementary and Secondary School  Emergency Relief                                                              
Fund (ESSERF)  monies are  available through  September 20,  2020.                                                              
She said there  is carryover ability to school  districts for both                                                              
federal  and non-federal  funds.   She said CARES  Act funding  is                                                              
available as  reimbursement.  She  related that the  congressional                                                              
delegation  is   currently  working  on  an   additional  COVID-19                                                              
funding  package,  which  will   include  additional  funding  for                                                              
school  districts.     She   advised  there   are  hold   harmless                                                              
provisions  in  statute  that  allow   districts  to  continue  to                                                              
receive funding.                                                                                                                
11:19:06 AM                                                                                                                   
REPRESENTATIVE  STORY  clarified  her interest  was  knowing  what                                                              
conversations have  taken place surrounding the known  $30 million                                                              
MS  SANDERS  reiterated   that  school  districts   are  receiving                                                              
additional  funding  to meet  their  needs,  as well  as  multiple                                                              
waivers at the federal level to carry forward their funding.                                                                    
CO-CHAIR  STORY concluded  that Ms.  Sanders had  not spoken  with                                                              
the districts.   She offered her understanding that  the money the                                                              
governor "put  in" was "the same  amount of money that  would have                                                              
been  the cut."   She  stated that  if that  money is  to pay  for                                                              
COVID-related expenses,  then there will still be a  lack of money                                                              
for services.   She encouraged  that conversation take  place, and                                                              
she said she would like a follow-up on the topic.                                                                               
MS.  SANDERS said  she would  continue  to work  closely with  the                                                              
school districts on their funding plans.                                                                                        
11:22:04 AM                                                                                                                   
TOM KLAAMEYER,  President, National Education  Association, Alaska                                                              
Affiliate  (NEA-AK),   expressed  that  these   are  unprecedented                                                              
times.   Currently COVID-19  has claimed  more than 600,000  lives                                                              
globally, 144,000  of whom  are U.S. Americans.   He said  that is                                                              
more Americans  than  those who  died in the  Vietnam War,  Korean                                                              
War,  Iraq  War,   Afghanistan,  and  the  terrorist   attacks  of                                                              
September 11,  2001, combined.   He expressed hope  that consensus                                                              
can be  reached on measures  to protect Alaskans,  mitigate risks,                                                              
and prevent  needless  illness and  death.  He  stated that  until                                                              
there is  a vaccine,  "our lives  and institutions cannot  operate                                                              
as  normal."    He emphasized  that  this  applies  especially  to                                                              
schools, where  student populations  make it difficult  to operate                                                              
safely, especially  in larger communities.  He  said teachers want                                                              
to  be in  their  classrooms  where they  can  have  an impact  on                                                              
students,  and  educators  and public  health  officials  must  be                                                              
active  participants in  the discussion  about reopening  schools,                                                              
as well  as when and  how to reenter  classrooms.  He  opined that                                                              
everyone's safety should be the top priority.                                                                                   
11:24:57 AM                                                                                                                   
MR. KLAAMEYER said  from July 17-22, 2020, NEA  Alaska conducted a                                                              
survey of  its members to  gauge feelings about  reopening schools                                                              
in  their districts.   There  were  over 3,500  responses from  39                                                              
different  school districts  across the state,  and the  responses                                                              
varied.  The  response rate alone indicates the  importance of the                                                              
issue.   He  shared a  key  observation from  the  results of  the                                                              
survey was that  over 76 percent of respondents  had been informed                                                              
about their  districts' reopening  plans.  He  said this  is good;                                                              
however, it  does not speak to  how involved teachers were  in the                                                              
discussions or  whether their recommendations  were followed.   Of                                                              
concern, he said,  is that over 75 percent of  respondents are "at                                                              
least  somewhat uncomfortable  with  reopening  public schools  in                                                              
their  district."   Half of  NEA Alaska's  members indicated  they                                                              
are  "very   uncomfortable"  with   reopening;  only   10  percent                                                              
responded  they   were  "completely   comfortable"  with   a  full                                                              
reopening.   He related  that when asked  their preference  on how                                                              
to reopen  school in  the fall,  47 percent  favored an  online or                                                              
distance delivery;  34 percent favored a partial  reopening, which                                                              
is referred  to as  a "blended"  or "hybrid"  model.   He reported                                                              
only 16  percent of  respondents preferred a  full reopening.   He                                                              
said the  top three  concerns were:   personal  safety; safety  of                                                              
family  members; and  the possibility  of sick  students or  staff                                                              
coming to school.   He added that only 2.6 percent  of respondents                                                              
had no concerns.                                                                                                                
11:27:56 AM                                                                                                                   
MR. KLAAMEYER  said school  buildings exist  because they  are the                                                              
best place  to foster  students' success,  and they will  continue                                                              
to serve  in that  capacity but  will need  to be retrofitted  and                                                              
updated to  ensure learning  can happen safely.   He said  in some                                                              
urban areas  "flat funding" has  created crowded  classrooms, with                                                              
up to 30 students  in elementary school classrooms  and 40 or more                                                              
in  secondary  school classrooms.    In  rural Alaska,  that  flat                                                              
funding  has been  exacerbated by  the attrition  of teachers  and                                                              
administrators,  as well  as rising  healthcare costs.   He  said,                                                              
"Public education  has been  in crisis  response mode  for years."                                                              
Mr.  Klaameyer relayed  that more  recently, funding  specifically                                                              
appropriated  by  Congress  for  COVID-19 response  "was  used  to                                                              
backfill  the governor's  veto."   He clarified  that rather  than                                                              
"preparing and  protecting our kids  for COVID," the  funds, which                                                              
are ultimately "one  pot of money," will need to  be used "to hold                                                              
the  line  against  the corrosive  effects  of  inflation,  rising                                                              
energy costs, and healthcare costs."                                                                                            
MR.   KLAAMEYER   said   over  the   summer,   stakeholders   have                                                              
collaborated  with DEED on  the Smart  Start plan, which  prepares                                                              
for  various  contingencies   that  districts  may   face  in  the                                                              
upcoming  school year.   He  said this  narrative was  "highjacked                                                              
...  by national  political rhetoric  seeking ...  to link  school                                                              
funding to  a full  reopening, without the  concern of  the safety                                                              
of  students  or educators."    He  said  this has  eroded  public                                                              
confidence in  schools, much consternation,  unnecessary division,                                                              
and  has  been detrimental  to  the  planning  process.   He  said                                                              
Alaska  educators   know  many  districts  will   face  challenges                                                              
related  to  variables  such as  COVID  presence,  geography,  and                                                              
student density/capacity.    He said some  communities have  taken                                                              
deliberate  measures  to  control   exposure  to  COVID-19,  while                                                              
others  are  grappling with  the  impact  of  the virus  on  their                                                              
communities  and families.   He said  the infections suffered  and                                                              
untimely deaths  occurring nationwide serve  as a reminder  of the                                                              
11:31:22 AM                                                                                                                   
MR. KLAAMEYER stated  that school reopening guidance  should allow                                                              
for  local discretion  and  input  from communities;  however,  it                                                              
should  be based  on scientific  data,  not political  expediency.                                                              
He said one  shortcoming of the  Smart Start structure  is that it                                                              
is advisory.   He  emphasized, "Ignored  guidelines don't  protect                                                              
anyone."   He said NEA Alaska  is concerned about  those districts                                                              
in Alaska  that seem  to be  forging ahead  without following  all                                                              
the guidelines,  "including one of  the top five districts  in the                                                              
MR.  KLAAMEYER stated  that  with  adequate resources  and  public                                                              
health  data supporting  a  safe return  of  students to  schools,                                                              
Alaska's  educators  stand  ready  to  work  with  students.    He                                                              
considered  that the opinions  of public  health experts  ought to                                                              
be taken  into account to inform  decisions and ensure  the safety                                                              
of students.   He said in  order to accomplish this,  the absolute                                                              
preconditions   for  reopening   schools   are   twofold:     One,                                                              
scientific  consensus   that  the  virus  has   been  sufficiently                                                              
contained  and local  health infrastructure  that can  effectively                                                              
address  current  and  future  outbreaks;   and  two,  a  plan  to                                                              
continue  to  contain  the virus  that  includes  robust  COVID-19                                                              
testing,  effective contact  tracing,  and  case isolation  within                                                              
the school  community, in  coordination with  large community  and                                                              
state efforts.   He  said elected officials  must utilize  and act                                                              
upon  available public  health data  to  keep everyone  safe.   He                                                              
said  educators want  to  go back  to  classrooms,  but only  when                                                              
confident   that   decisions   regarding   districts   plans   and                                                              
frameworks  are   driven  by  CDC   guidance  and   public  health                                                              
officials, like Dr. Zink.                                                                                                       
11:34:03 AM                                                                                                                   
MR. KLAAMEYER said  he worries that a premature  return to schools                                                              
will directly  impact  the work  of the governor's  task force  on                                                              
educator  attraction  and  retention.    He said  NEA  Alaska  has                                                              
already had  inquiries from  teachers about  the ramifications  of                                                              
early retirement,  which they are  considering rather  than taking                                                              
the risk  of returning  to schools not  in compliance  with health                                                              
and  safety protocols.    He shared  his  military background  and                                                              
spoke of  esprit de  corps, in which  everyone does  his/her part.                                                              
He  said everyone  involved in  the  education system  works as  a                                                              
team  to  make  learning  happen   safely  and  effectively.    He                                                              
expressed  thankfulness  for  the governor's  decision  this  past                                                              
spring  to close schools  in response  to the  uncertainty  of the                                                              
pandemic.    He said  the  result  of  that  was that  many  lives                                                              
potentially   were   saved,   the  healthcare   system   was   not                                                              
overwhelmed,  and schools did  not become  centers for  the spread                                                              
of COVID-19.                                                                                                                    
11:36:11 AM                                                                                                                   
MR. KLAAMEYER  said districts  scrambled  to create continuity  of                                                              
education through  remote classroom learning  for the rest  of the                                                              
school  year.   Since then,  DEED,  district leaders,  principals,                                                              
and NEA  Alaska's members have been  working to capitalize  on the                                                              
lessons learned during  that process to be ready  for the possible                                                              
continuation  of  remote  learning  in  the fall.    He  mentioned                                                              
development of  the Alaska Smart  Start structure;  investments in                                                              
computers and  Internet connectivity  to provide equitable  access                                                              
statewide;  professional development  from  districts; the  Alaska                                                              
Staff  Development Network  and  NEA Alaska;  and a  collaborative                                                              
effort to provide  an online community to provide  the support and                                                              
content  needed by  educators and  to  share resources  statewide.                                                              
He said distance  education this fall, if necessary,  will be much                                                              
better than it was in the spring.                                                                                               
MR. KLAAMEYER  said NEA Alaska is  working on other  measures with                                                              
federal legislation  to improve access  in rural schools  by being                                                              
able  to  rebroadcast  the  Internet   signal  that  goes  through                                                              
schools via  "the e-rate" to students'  homes.  He  indicated that                                                              
NEA Alaska is  developing a platform for shared  resources, and he                                                              
expressed   appreciation   for    the   commissioner's   work   in                                                              
facilitating  that.    He expressed  NEA  Alaska's  commitment  to                                                              
ensuring  education to  students and  looking forward  to the  day                                                              
when students  can  safely convene  in person.   He expressed  his                                                              
appreciation  to  the  House  Education   Standing  Committee  for                                                              
facilitating this conversation and inviting him to speak.                                                                       
11:39:50 AM                                                                                                                   
REPRESENTATIVE  JOHNSON   noted  that  the  American   Academy  of                                                              
Pediatrics  (AAP)   issued  guidelines  for  the   functioning  of                                                              
schools in  a safe  manner.   She asked  Mr. Klaameyer  to specify                                                              
what he meant when he mentioned the scientific community.                                                                       
MR. KLAAMEYER concurred  that the AAP is a scientific  source.  He                                                              
said  CDC guidelines  have been  clear, and  Dr. Zink's  testimony                                                              
covered many strategies  being put in place "to  accomplish that."                                                              
He  said  it  will  probably  be  safe  to  return  to  school  in                                                              
communities  where there has  been little  spread; it's  the other                                                              
communities   where  there   has  been  spread   that  will   pose                                                              
difficulty.    He said  the  Smart  Start  protocol is  not  being                                                              
followed everywhere.                                                                                                            
11:43:02 AM                                                                                                                   
REPRESENTATIVE  JOHNSON offered  her understanding  that there  is                                                              
some  indication  that  "the  big research  groups"  feel  that  a                                                              
danger  to  children is  the  long-term  effect  of being  out  of                                                              
school.   She said  she supports  making "a data-given  decision,"                                                              
but pointed out  the changing nature of the data.   Meanwhile, she                                                              
said,  children  are getting  older,  and  Alaska is  required  by                                                              
constitution  to educate its  children.  She  said she  had spoken                                                              
with   an   older,   retired  teacher,   and   she   offered   her                                                              
understanding  that "the older  you get, the  more likely  you are                                                              
to  have  effects from  COVID."    She  asked whether  anyone  had                                                              
considered  giving  the  younger  teachers  with  lower  risk  the                                                              
opportunity  to teach  in the schools,  and to  have the  teachers                                                              
move between the classrooms.                                                                                                    
MR.  KLAAMEYER thanked  Representative Johnson  for the  question.                                                              
He said he  thinks "those things"  are going to vary  by community                                                              
based on  what is happening in  each community.  He  expressed his                                                              
confidence in  the ability to  continue education by  operating in                                                              
a blended  or remote environment.   He emphasized that  NEA Alaska                                                              
is  not proposing  nothing be  done; conversely,  it is  proposing                                                              
"we do  the best we can."   Time and  money have been  invested to                                                              
learn  about remote  learning, and  more professional  development                                                              
will happen to ensure  this can be done safely.   This can protect                                                              
older staff with  underlying health concern and  students who live                                                              
with  family  members  with  underlying  health  concerns.    Some                                                              
parents  are not  comfortable  with  their children  returning  to                                                              
school during  the pandemic.   He said  accommodations need  to be                                                              
made to ensure  those students get their education.   He suggested                                                              
students  who need  to  learn remotely  could  be  paired up  with                                                              
educators   who  need  to   teach  remotely.     He  agreed   with                                                              
Representative  Johnson  that  it   would  be  a  lengthy  process                                                              
[before a vaccine is developed].                                                                                                
11:47:54 AM                                                                                                                   
REPRESENTATIVE DRUMMOND  said the  committee would next  hear from                                                              
Dr. Parady, followed by school superintendents.                                                                                 
11:48:37 AM                                                                                                                   
LISA  S. PARADY,  Ph.D.,  Executive  Director, Alaska  Council  of                                                              
School   Administrators   (ACSA),   co-presented   a   PowerPoint,                                                              
entitled "Providing  a Safe Smart Start for Alaska  Public Schools                                                              
2020 -2021  District Plans."  She  directed attention to  slide 2,                                                              
which read as follows [original punctuation provided]:                                                                          
     The  AASA COVID-19  Recovery Task  Force Guidelines  for                                                                   
     Reopening  Schools: An opportunity  to Transform  Public                                                                   
     1.   Plan   for   Multiple   Reopening   Scenarios   and                                                                   
     Contingencies  to Ensure  the Health,  Safety and  Well-                                                                   
     Being of All Students and Staff                                                                                            
     2.  Build a COVID-19-Response  Reopening  Infrastructure                                                                   
     Aligned with Changing Scenarios and Needs                                                                                  
     3. Ensure  Students' and  Families' Equitable Access  to                                                                   
     Technology Required for Virtual Learning                                                                                   
     4.  Provide Continuing  Support to  Students and  Adults                                                                   
     to  Address  Their  Immediate  and  Long-Term  Physical,                                                                   
     Psychological, Social and Emotional Needs                                                                                  
     5. Ensure All Schools Are Trauma-Informed and Trauma-                                                                      
     6.  Prepare   for  COVID-19-Related  Changes   in  Human                                                                   
     Resource Management and Practices                                                                                          
     7.   Offer  Ongoing   Personalized  and   Differentiated                                                                   
     Professional Learning                                                                                                      
     8.  Transform the  Teaching-Learning-Assessment  Process                                                                   
     to     Ensure    Personalization,     Engagement     and                                                                   
     9.   Anticipate  COVID-19-Related   Budget  and   Fiscal                                                                   
     Management Issues                                                                                                          
     10. Embrace a New Paradigm for Public Education                                                                            
DR.  PARADY stated  that  the Alaska  Superintendents  Association                                                              
(ASA) serves  to ensure high  quality education for  all children.                                                              
She  thanked  all superintendents  for  their  leadership  through                                                              
unprecedented  times  and  encouraged   support  for  them.    She                                                              
thanked  Commissioner  Johnson, Dr.  Zink,  and others  for  their                                                              
guidance   and  support,   and   she  extolled   the  benefit   of                                                              
collaboration when  responding to a rapidly  changing environment.                                                              
She  emphasized  that  "every  plan  is in  process."    She  said                                                              
district  leaders must  have the  ability to  react quickly.   She                                                              
noted  that  slide 2  shows  the  number of  considerations  being                                                              
navigated.  She  said most district leaders have not  had a break,                                                              
and they  are dealing  with a  multitude of  issues that  upcoming                                                              
speakers  would address.   She  said ASCA  hosts regular  meetings                                                              
for superintendents,  principals, and statewide  education leaders                                                              
"for ongoing  COVID communication  collaboration."   She  said the                                                              
Alaska  Staff Development  Network  (ASDN),  a private,  nonprofit                                                              
organization,  is  supporting  the  return of  school  in  August,                                                              
providing  three  weeks of  no-cost  topical webinars  covering  a                                                              
variety  of subjects,  along with  tools  for remote  instruction.                                                              
She  said  ASDN  provided  these   webinars  in  the  spring,  and                                                              
thousands of teachers and educators took part.                                                                                  
11:52:07 AM                                                                                                                   
DR.  PARADY  related  that [the  American  Association  of  School                                                              
Administrators,    referred   to    as    the   National    School                                                              
Superintendents  Association] (AASA)  partnered with the  [Alaska]                                                              
Association  of School  Business Officials  (ALASBO) and  released                                                              
estimates  in June  of  likely costs  of  reopening  schools in  a                                                              
COVID-19  pandemic  environment.     Taking  into  account  health                                                              
protocols,  staffing needs, personal  protection equipment  (PPE),                                                              
transportation,  and  childcare,  the estimated  total  additional                                                              
expense  for an  average national  district  would be  $1,778,000.                                                              
She said she would  provide a breakdown of that  to the committee.                                                              
She  said schools  will need  additional funding  to support  this                                                              
expense.  She  spoke of a roundtable with Senator  Lisa Murkowski,                                                              
who  noted   that  pre-pandemic   funding  for  schools   was  not                                                              
sufficient, and it  is certainly not adequate now.   She indicated                                                              
that  approximately $105  billion  was in  a  U.S. Senate  support                                                              
package, and she  expressed her hope that "all of  us" can talk to                                                              
the  congressional  delegation  to  encourage the  package  to  go                                                              
forward, "without  strings."  She said districts  will continue to                                                              
need  funding, because  "all of  our  collective focus  is on  the                                                              
health  and  safety and  ongoing  learning  of our  students,  our                                                              
staffs, and our  ... communities."  She said she  looks forward to                                                              
continuing work with  the committee on funding  and policy issues,                                                              
as well as  other issues, including connectivity  issues in remote                                                              
11:54:43 AM                                                                                                                   
KERRY   BOYD,  Superintendent,   Yukon-Koyukuk   School   District                                                              
(YKSD), said  she would  cover the following  topics:   safety and                                                              
health,  scheduling  childcare,  essential needs  students,  CARES                                                              
Act funding,  loss of  learning, and challenges.   She  offered an                                                              
overview of  YKSD, including its  unique combination of  urban and                                                              
rural  areas  totaling over  70,000  square  miles with  9  remote                                                              
schools ranging in  size from 12-90 [students].   She related that                                                              
the  district already  has  900 more  students  enrolled than  its                                                              
average;  its special  needs  population  and homeschool  programs                                                              
have  doubled; and  the  height  of its  enrollment  is not  until                                                              
August.  She  said the Raven Homeschool offices  will be following                                                              
local  protocols in  terms of  whether they  operate via  distance                                                              
education.   The remote  schools, being  small, are better  suited                                                              
for social distancing.                                                                                                          
11:57:14 AM                                                                                                                   
MS. BOYD,  addressing the information  on slides 4-5,  remarked on                                                              
the speed  at which things can  change during a pandemic  and said                                                              
currently  the  district was  between  a  "green" [low  risk]  and                                                              
"yellow" [medium  risk] "opening."   She  said YKSD has  stringent                                                              
guidance in place;  it does symptom and temperature  checks at the                                                              
door [of  the schools],  trains parents,  holds classroom  size to                                                              
8-10,  with one  exception at  its  largest school,  which has  90                                                              
students, and where  it will spread out those students.   She said                                                              
parents in village  schools are anxious for their  children to get                                                              
back to  school.  When  school was closed  in March,  the district                                                              
did not have  the infrastructure for distance delivery;  while the                                                              
Internet use was  being gifted by the supplier, YKSD  was not able                                                              
to  take   advantage  of  it.     It  is  working  to   build  the                                                              
infrastructure  to prepare for  future closure,  but it is  a slow                                                              
process, she remarked.                                                                                                          
MS. BOYD said  communities in the district are  being vigilant [in                                                              
keeping  out  anyone  with  COVID-19]  by  patrolling  waters  and                                                              
airplanes.  Currently  there is only one case.  She  said in order                                                              
to get in  or out of the  villages, a person must  have permission                                                              
of the  chief and  community leaders.   She  said this  presents a                                                              
challenge.  School  is starting late, because teachers  [coming to                                                              
or  returning to  a district]  are  required to  quarantine for  2                                                              
weeks  in Fairbanks.    She said  there  is a  provision  allowing                                                              
communities  with populations  up to 1,000  to require  additional                                                              
restrictions for  incoming and outgoing  travelers.  She  said she                                                              
believes this  helps keep  out COVID.   She said  she is  aware of                                                              
only one case in  the district.  She said the  district is relying                                                              
on self-reporting.   She mentioned  there is  a stigma.   She said                                                              
the district is  working with local health communities  to develop                                                              
a plan.                                                                                                                         
12:00:13 PM                                                                                                                   
MS. BOYD said at  this time, YKSD's schools are  scheduled to open                                                              
at  their regular  hours  Monday through  Friday.   She  indicated                                                              
that the schools  will be sanitized frequently,  and children will                                                              
be socially  distanced on busses,  as well  as in classrooms.   To                                                              
minimize the  spread of COVID-19,  no travel is allowed  for staff                                                              
or  students  for  the  remainder  of the  year.    She  said  the                                                              
district ordered  PPE months  ago and will  continue to  order it.                                                              
Plexiglass dividers  are in place  for administrative  staff, with                                                              
desks further  apart.  Sanitizing  supplies have been sent  out to                                                              
the  schools.   She said  the state  has ordered  cloth masks  for                                                              
every student and staff.                                                                                                        
MS. BOYD said  if the schools "go  to yellow," then there  will be                                                              
stricter guidelines  in place.   She talked  about a heat  map but                                                              
said  it doesn't  identify  specific communities.    She said  the                                                              
district  is working  with  the local  health  community on  this.                                                              
She  reiterated that  YKSD is  working on  its Internet  capacity.                                                              
It  is  practicing  Zoom  meetings   and  online  delivery  inside                                                              
classrooms while  it has the  Internet there to  do so.   She said                                                              
teachers  do have  Internet in  the district  housing provided  to                                                              
MS.  BOYD addressed  the issue  of childcare.   She  spoke of  the                                                              
challenge  to  parents  who are  working  and  homeschooling  when                                                              
schools are  shut down.  She  noted that Commissioner  Johnson has                                                              
given  her a  template  to use  that  she said  is  helpful.   She                                                              
credited  DEED,  the association,  and  the medical  community  in                                                              
meeting  with superintendents.   In  terms of  special needs,  she                                                              
said there  is a plan in  place now to  be able to meet  the needs                                                              
of  students, especially  those  with critical  needs.   She  said                                                              
with  Raven  Homeschool growing  "from  170  to over  double  with                                                              
special  needs,"  there  are  currently   five  vacant  positions.                                                              
There  was a learning  period in  March when  the schools  closed.                                                              
Work has been done  over the summer.  Contingency  plans have been                                                              
considered for  green, yellow, and red  risk levels.  She  said in                                                              
the first  two weeks  of school,  students will  be assessed,  and                                                              
learning plans will  be created for each.  The  district will hire                                                              
consultants to help get this big job done.                                                                                      
12:04:43 PM                                                                                                                   
MS. BOYD talked  about social/emotional learning (SEL).   She said                                                              
there is only one  counselor for its "nine river  schools."  There                                                              
is one vacancy.   She said YKSD coordinates with  Tanana Community                                                              
College (TCC).   She  indicated that staff  is being  trained, and                                                              
there are challenges  in this area.   She said YKSD does  not have                                                              
a health nurse  for any of its  schools, and some villages  do not                                                              
have health  clinics.  She  listed the  partnership with TCC  as a                                                              
strength.   She said  Commissioner Johnson is  helping YKSD  get a                                                              
townhall meeting  to discuss  and get  answers to questions  about                                                              
COVID-19 from  the medical community.   She relayed that  about 20                                                              
percent  of  staff is  over  the  age  of 60;  several  staff  had                                                              
requested not  to work.   She said  those who  will want  to leave                                                              
for  Christmas   will  end  up   out  of  school  longer   due  to                                                              
quarantine.   She said  the turnaround  time for COVID-19  testing                                                              
is  running 6-10  days.   She said  a lot  of work  is being  done                                                              
overall, and the  work continues because of the  changes happening                                                              
12:06:52 PM                                                                                                                   
JOHN  CONWELL,  Superintendent,   Unalaska  City  School  District                                                              
(UCSD),  picked up  the  PowerPoint,  on slide  7,  which read  as                                                              
follows  [original  punctuation  provided,  with  some  formatting                                                              
     Plans developed with guidance from:                                                                                        
     ?  Federal,  state  and  local  health  and  educational                                                                   
     ?  City  Risk Manager  and  local  Emergency  Operations                                                                   
     ? Survey responses from UCSD families                                                                                      
     Unified Incident Command Structure                                                                                         
     Formed at the  inception of the pandemic,  this team met                                                                   
     daily  through  the  initial  phase of  the  crisis  and                                                                   
     created   a  unified  voice   for  local  leaders   that                                                                   
     community members now look to for guidance.                                                                                
     Plans are EVOLVING                                                                                                         
     The plan  will continue  to evolve up  to and after  the                                                                   
     first  official   day  of  school  on  August   19.  The                                                                   
     overarching  goal of  the plan is  to provide  in-person                                                                   
     PK-12   education  while   protecting   the  health   of                                                                   
     employees, students and the community at large.                                                                            
MR. CONWELL paraphrased  advice Dr. Zink gave to  school districts                                                              
and superintendents,  as follows:   "Keep the essence of  what you                                                              
do   alive,  while   keeping  the   spread   of  the   coronavirus                                                              
minimized."   He said UCSD  is effective at in-person  instruction                                                              
and  less  so with  remote  instruction.    He explained  this  is                                                              
because of the lack  of adequate bandwidth.  He  said the district                                                              
believes  it  can  open  its  schools   five  days  a  week  while                                                              
practicing the safety  protocols.  It is working  closely with its                                                              
local unified incident  command structure and has  access to local                                                              
healthcare authorities,  its city risk manager, and  other experts                                                              
in the community.   He noted  that the city's risk  thresholds are                                                              
more stringent than  that of the state.  Currently  there has been                                                              
no  community  spread  in  Unalaska,   although  there  have  been                                                              
positive cases coming in on fishing trawlers and the ferry.                                                                     
MR. CONWELL  referred to  the information on  slide 8,  which read                                                              
as follows  [original punctuation  provided, with some  formatting                                                              
     August 12-15                                                                                                               
     Professional  development devoted  to training in  Smart                                                                   
     Start Plan implementation.                                                                                                 
     Aug. 19-21                                                                                                                 
     "soft-opening"  whereby  only  2 classes  per  half  day                                                                   
     will attend  to meet teachers and learn new  Smart Start                                                                   
     Low/Medium Risk Protocol Measures:                                                                                         
     ?   Social  distancing:   6   ft.  spacing,   plexiglass                                                                   
     ? Face coverings:  School buses, hallways,  locker rooms                                                                   
     and anywhere 6 ft distance isn't possible                                                                                  
     ? Personal hygiene: Proper handwashing measures                                                                            
     ?  Temperature  and  health   screenings:  Family  "care                                                                   
     ?  Visitors:  Face  masks,  social  distancing,  secured                                                                   
     ? Recess: Encouraged outdoor recreation                                                                                    
     ? Social  Emotional Learning/Mental Health:  instruction                                                                   
     incorporated daily when feasible                                                                                           
     ? Training for personnel devoted to Smart Start                                                                            
     ?  Training for  students first  days  devoted to  Smart                                                                   
     Start education                                                                                                            
     ? Remote Education an option for families                                                                                  
MR. CONWELL talked  about creating a fun environment  for learning                                                              
amidst these safety measures.                                                                                                   
12:11:38 PM                                                                                                                   
MR. CONWELL directed  attention to slide 9, which  read as follows                                                              
[original punctuation provided, with some formatting changes]:                                                                  
     If the Emergency  Operations Center elevates  local risk                                                                   
     to  HIGH, schools  would  need  to pivot  to  home-based                                                                   
     education much like last spring.                                                                                           
     Our  current  planning includes  the  implementation  of                                                                   
     measures that  would seek to  improve on the  home-based                                                                   
     learning experience from last spring.                                                                                      
     High Risk Protocol Measures:                                                                                               
     ? Home-based education for all students                                                                                    
     ?  Adoption  of  standardized   learning  platforms  for                                                                   
     online, district supported for K-4 and 5-12.                                                                               
     ?  Transitioning   to  a  hybrid  1:1   computer  device                                                                   
       Offer  Alaska Statewide Virtual  System as  a distance                                                                   
     learning option                                                                                                            
     ?  Maintain   a  daily   class  schedule  with   limited                                                                   
     flexibility for special circumstances                                                                                      
     ? Re-launch  the homework  and removable drive  exchange                                                                   
     ?  Continued   partnership  with   KUCB  Channel   8  to                                                                   
     broadcast   educational   content  that   is   developed                                                                   
     locally or from PBS                                                                                                        
12:13:28 PM                                                                                                                   
BRIDGET  WEISS,  Ph.D.,  Superintendent,  Juneau  School  District                                                              
(JSD),  continued  the  PowerPoint,   bringing  attention  to  the                                                              
information  on   slide  12,  which  read  as   follows  [original                                                              
punctuation provided]:                                                                                                          
     JUNEAU: BLENDED MODEL                                                                                                      
     ? ELEMENTARY: 4 HALF DAYS                                                                                                  
     ? MS/HS: AB SCHEDULE                                                                                                       
     ?  ALL  SCHOOLS: WEDNESDAY  AS  AN  E LEARNING  DAY  FOR                                                                   
     ? CONSIDERATIONS MADE:                                                                                                     
     ? STUDENTS  WITH SPECIAL NEEDS  WILL ATTEND FULL  DAY, 4                                                                   
     DAYS A WEEK AT ELEMENTARY                                                                                                  
     ?  ADDITIONAL DAYS  AS POSSIBLE  AT  MS/HS FOR  STUDENTS                                                                   
     WITH SPECIAL NEEDS                                                                                                         
     ? ISSUES: SAFETY AND EQUITY JUNEAU: BLENDED MODEL                                                                          
     ? ELEMENTARY: 4 HALF DAYS                                                                                                  
     ? MS/HS: AB SCHEDULE                                                                                                       
       ? ALL SCHOOLS: WEDNESDAY AS AN E LEARNING DAY FOR                                                                        
     ? CONSIDERATIONS MADE:                                                                                                     
     ? STUDENTS WITH SPECIAL NEEDS WILL ATTEND FULL DAY, 4                                                                      
     DAYS A WEEK AT ELEMENTARY                                                                                                  
      ? ADDITIONAL DAYS AS POSSIBLE AT MS/HS FOR STUDENTS                                                                       
     WITH SPECIAL NEEDS                                                                                                         
     ? ISSUES: SAFETY AND EQUITY                                                                                                
DR.  WEISS explained  that  with four,  half  days for  elementary                                                              
students,  the fifth  day would  be used for  teachers to  prepare                                                              
and train  and for  staff to  disinfect the  buildings.   She said                                                              
the decision was  based on the vulnerability of  elementary school                                                              
children,  in  terms of  their  learning  needs and  capacity  for                                                              
learning  development.   She explained  that two  full days  would                                                              
have  left them  with too  big a  gap  between learning  sessions.                                                              
She explained  "AB SCHEDULE" for  high school students  meant they                                                              
would  be attending  school  full  days, two  days  a  week.   She                                                              
emphasized  the difficulty  in  making these  decisions  regarding                                                              
time  in school  versus  distance learning  the  remainder of  the                                                              
week.   She said when  the risk level  drops, the district  may be                                                              
able  to increase  the  number  of  days students  have  in-person                                                              
learning  at  school.    She  said   the  district  is  constantly                                                              
balancing equity and safety.                                                                                                    
12:16:14 PM                                                                                                                   
DR. WEISS  turned to  slide 13,  which read  as follows  [original                                                              
punctuation provided]:                                                                                                          
     CHILDCARE, CARES $ AND OUR MOST VULNERABLE                                                                                 
     ? CHILDCARE                                                                                                                
          ? SIGNIFICANT challenge!                                                                                              
          ? WORKING WITH CBJ TASK FORCE                                                                                         
        ? DEVELOPING STRUCTURE FOR STAFFbut not sure yet                                                                        
     how to support it financially                                                                                              
          ? Developed a 1:1 device program                                                                                      
          ? PPE for buildings and personnel                                                                                     
        ? NOT enoughwe will need additional funding for                                                                         
     staff and academic recovery                                                                                                
DR.  WEISS   said  the  district   seldom  disrupts   the  support                                                              
structures  families have  regarding  childcare;  [closure of  in-                                                              
person  classroom learning]  affects  families in  the long  term.                                                              
Further, she noted  that there are approximately  80 staff members                                                              
with children  in the  district.   Regarding expenditure  of CARES                                                              
Act  funds,  she   said  the  1:1  devices  that   were  purchased                                                              
addressed the issue  of equity, and she relayed  that the district                                                              
brought 500  "humanity shields" and  is prepared to  purchase more                                                              
if needed.   She  acknowledged Co-Chair  Story's previous  remarks                                                              
concerning  the  lack  of  funds  in the  district  prior  to  the                                                              
pandemic,  and she emphasized  that the  district needs  financial                                                              
12:19:26 PM                                                                                                                   
DR. WIESS  introduced slide  14, which  read as follows  [original                                                              
punctuation provided]:                                                                                                          
     RESPOND, REBOOT, AND RECOVERY                                                                                              
     ? Current  response  effort is something  we have  never                                                                   
     done before:                                                                                                               
          ?  Distance   delivery,  home  schooling   options,                                                                   
     special  education  needs,  curricular  strategies  with                                                                   
     blended  model,  mitigation  in environments  where  the                                                                   
     guidelines are nearly impossible                                                                                           
     ? Reboot:                                                                                                                  
          ?  We hope  to learn  from our  experiences and  be                                                                   
     better for  it in the  end, but in  the here and  now we                                                                   
     are  asking   A  LOT  from   every  individual   in  our                                                                   
     organizations.   And  the   real  threat   of  loss   of                                                                   
     enrollment and the impact to our funding is daunting.                                                                      
     ? RECOVERY:                                                                                                                
     ? The  stages of recovery will  take on a life  of their                                                                   
     own  as we  proceed: we  need  support now  in order  to                                                                   
     deliver  high  quality  instruction  with the  level  of                                                                   
     mitigation   necessary   for   safety,   however?as   we                                                                   
     proceed,  the losses  will take time  to recoup.  Summer                                                                   
     of 2021  will be a  critical stretch  of time for  us to                                                                   
     augment  learning opportunities  and the  cost is  going                                                                   
     to be a huge challenge.                                                                                                    
DR.  WEISS emphasized  that  students would  be  starting back  to                                                              
school after five  months of no structured learning  and emotional                                                              
support  environment.    She  pointed  out  there  have  not  been                                                              
typical social environments  like Sunday school and  summer camps.                                                              
She talked  about the  programs  necessary in  summer of 2021  and                                                              
the money that would be necessary to fund them.                                                                                 
12:20:52 PM                                                                                                                   
TERRI  WALKER,  Superintendent,  Northwest Arctic  Borough  School                                                              
District  (NABSD),   continued  with   the  PowerPoint   and  drew                                                              
attention to  the information on  slide 16, which read  as follows                                                              
[original punctuation provided]:                                                                                                
     The Northwest Arctic Borough School District's mission                                                                     
     is to provide a learning environment that inspires and                                                                     
     challenges students and employees to excel.                                                                                
     Priorities for Reopening                                                                                                   
         ? Safety and security of students, staff, and                                                                          
     ? Social and emotional well-being of our students and                                                                      
      ? Targeted instruction for students using platforms                                                                       
     that can be used in classrooms and remotely                                                                                
MS. WALKER  noted that  there are 2,000  students spread  out over                                                              
39,000 square  miles in NABSD.   She moved  on to slide  17, which                                                              
read as follows [original punctuation provided]:                                                                                
     Flexible Learning Plan                                                                                                     
     ? Extended start date                                                                                                      
     ? School will start on August 20, 2020                                                                                     
     ? Orientation for parents/students the first two days                                                                      
     ? Staggered schedules                                                                                                      
     ? 1:1 electronic device for each student K-12                                                                              
     ? Middle/High school block schedule                                                                                        
     ? Blended learning model                                                                                                   
MS.  WALKER said  the August  20  start is  late because  teachers                                                              
need to quarantine.   She spoke of the necessity  of responding to                                                              
various  risk   levels  during   the  pandemic.     Regarding  the                                                              
orientation,  she  said  parents  would meet  teachers  and  learn                                                              
about devices, schedules,  safety protocols, and  the meal service                                                              
plan.  She said  the staggered schedules would be  two days a week                                                              
in  classroom and  three  days a  week  distance  learning.   Each                                                              
student will  have an  iPad.   The middle  school and high  school                                                              
students  will  have  three classes  per  "quarter"  totaling  six                                                              
classes in  a "semester."  This  was a plan to  avoid overwhelming                                                              
students trying to cover six classes at home.                                                                                   
12:25:15 PM                                                                                                                   
MS. WALKER directed  attention to slide 18, which  read as follows                                                              
[original punctuation provided]:                                                                                                
     Medium Risk Opening                                                                                                        
     ? Practice protocols and expectations                                                                                      
     ? Cohort rostering and staggered scheduling                                                                                
     ? On-site and remote teaching                                                                                              
     ? Blended learning lessons                                                                                                 
     ? Social and emotional needs of students                                                                                   
     ? Meals at home and in-school                                                                                              
     ? Provide information and training                                                                                         
     ? Safety measures in place                                                                                                 
MS. WALKER  noted that the district  had spent CARES Act  funds on                                                              
face masks,  gowns for the  special needs department,  gloves, and                                                              
disinfectant.   She indicated  the district  had also  spent money                                                              
on long-distance  audio calls  to connect  teachers with  students                                                              
without  Internet "last  year."   She said the  district does  not                                                              
have the funds to  provide a counselor at each site,  so it bought                                                              
a  SEL  program  for  its  elementary   students,  having  already                                                              
purchased it  for high  school students.   It has purchased  iPads                                                              
for each  student.  The district  anticipates costs for  hotel and                                                              
per diem  of employees  on layover in  Kotzebue and  Anchorage for                                                              
COVID-19  testing.   She said  the  district issued  "a number  of                                                              
EDCs"  for principals  and teachers  to work  over the summer  and                                                              
assist  with the  Smart Start  plan.   She  emphasized that  COVID                                                              
expenses would  far exceed  the amount  the district has  received                                                              
from CARES Act funds;  it will not cover the expense  necessary to                                                              
keep students safe  over the next school year,  including Internet                                                              
access and ongoing supplies.                                                                                                    
12:29:31 PM                                                                                                                   
DEENA   M.  BISHOP,   Ed.D.,  Superintendent,   Anchorage   School                                                              
District  (ASD), took over  the PowerPoint  presentation  and said                                                              
she would speak  to risk level decision-making  and ASD's response                                                              
to schooling  and safety.   She  directed attention  to slide  21,                                                              
which  shows two  matrixes regarding  risk assessment.   She  said                                                              
that  with  input  from medical  and  science  professionals,  ASD                                                              
created  a  response  and decision-making  matrix.    She  brought                                                              
attention to the  left-hand side of the matrix and  pointed to the                                                              
three colors  indicating the  municipality's alert levels  created                                                              
by DHSS:   high  [red], intermediate  [orange], and low  [yellow].                                                              
On  the right  side she  pointed to  DEED's risk  levels for  ASD:                                                              
high  [red],   medium-high  and   medium-low  [yellow],   and  low                                                              
[green].   She said  the state's  dashboard provides the  modeling                                                              
and matrix  per cases over  a 14-day mean;  as of last week,  a 7-                                                              
day  average was  also provided.   She  said ASD  utilizes a  more                                                              
stable look  at alert levels;  the two are  side by side  in order                                                              
that  the community  "can understand  the  decision-making."   She                                                              
said ASD  has broken down  the 300,000-person population  into the                                                              
number of  new cases daily  averaged over  15 days.   She referred                                                              
again to the yellow  medium-risk level on the right  and said, "We                                                              
wanted to  engage our community  as much  as possible, but  with a                                                              
slow start,  so that our staff,  students, and families  feel safe                                                              
and are comfortable with the protocols."                                                                                        
DR.  BISHOP moved  on to  slide 22,  which showed  the ASD  School                                                              
Start Risk Level  Response Plan for low, medium-low,  medium-high,                                                              
and high risk, and  for ASD at school or ASD at  home.  The latter                                                              
has a  new virtual program,  as well as  enrollment choice  in one                                                              
of ASD's three  home schools.  She  said, "The ASD at  home is for                                                              
families  that want  to stay connected  to their  home school  but                                                              
don't  feel  necessarily  comfortable."     She  stated,  "We  are                                                              
operating  this on  a cohort  model,  as suggested  by Dr.  Zink."                                                              
She compared it to a one-room schoolhouse.                                                                                      
12:32:56 PM                                                                                                                   
DR. BISHOP  directed attention  to slide 23,  which is  a response                                                              
matrix  based on  the number  of  confirmed COVID-19  cases.   She                                                              
said two  weeks ago  she announced a  high-medium risk  level, and                                                              
with the rise in  numbers, she predicted ASD would  be moving into                                                              
the high-risk category.   She noted that the  matrix shows remarks                                                              
based on  the number  of cases,  as well  as the assumptions  that                                                              
inform those  remarks.  A high-risk  model does not  mean everyone                                                              
will be at  home, she said.   Students would "begin at  home," and                                                              
ASD  staff would  report to  the  buildings and  use the  Internet                                                              
provided by  the school.   She said the  district would  plan time                                                              
for parents to come  in to meet teachers for the  new school year,                                                              
and safety protocols  would be followed.  She said  ASD staff will                                                              
be  wearing masks.    Those  who choose  not  to are  invited  "to                                                              
utilize the  virtual at-home program."   She added that  those who                                                              
cannot  wear masks  for  medical reasons  would  be provided  with                                                              
12:35:28 PM                                                                                                                   
BETH  LOUGEE,  Superintendent, Ketchikan  Gateway  Borough  School                                                              
District (KGBSD),  resumed the PowerPoint presentation  by showing                                                              
slide  25.   She said  KGBSD serves  approximately 2,300  students                                                              
from preschool  through twelfth  grade and  offers a wide  variety                                                              
of  programming  in  its three  elementary  schools,  two  charter                                                              
schools,   two  middle   schools,   one  high   school,  and   one                                                              
junior/senior  alternative school.    She said  the district  also                                                              
provides    a   homeschool    correspondence    program,    called                                                              
"Fasttrack," and  provides online courses via its  digital academy                                                              
platform.    Ms.  Lougee  said   the  district  employs  over  400                                                              
permanent, full-time  staff and  over 150 temporary  or substitute                                                              
personnel,  many of whom  are graduates  of the district's  school                                                              
system.    She  said  KGBSD  is  the  second-largest  employer  in                                                              
Ketchikan.   She  said the  district has  responsibility to  enter                                                              
into  fall schooling  with a  careful  plan that  will ensure  the                                                              
health  and safety  of  students, staff,  and  community, and  for                                                              
that reason,  the district  has been  working closely  since March                                                              
with  the  local  emergency  operations   command,  the  Ketchikan                                                              
Education Association  (KEA), parents, local agencies,  DEED, ASA,                                                              
and the  Association of  Alaska School Boards  (AASB), as  well as                                                              
state and local public health experts.                                                                                          
MS. LOUGEE  turned attention to  slide 26, which shows  a learning                                                              
plan  timeline for  KBGSD.   She  spoke about  the information  on                                                              
slide 27, which read as follows [original punctuation provided]:                                                                
     The district's  top priority is providing for  the needs                                                                   
     of our students,  families, staff, and  community during                                                                   
     this  time, charting  a path forward  for educating  our                                                                   
     students,  and keeping them  safe at  the same time.  We                                                                   
     are  committed   to  doing  what   we  need  to   do  to                                                                   
     accomplish this.                                                                                                           
     Considerations and Challenges:                                                                                             
     ?  Planning time  and training  for  different tiers  of                                                                   
     ?   Resources  to   support  the   different  tiers   of                                                                   
     instruction (staff, space, PPE)                                                                                            
     ? Managing  the daily  changes with updated  information                                                                   
     due to new recommendations and restrictions                                                                                
MS. LOUGEE said  KBGSD will provide each student with  a device to                                                              
access learning  remotely,  and it will  acquire additional  space                                                              
to  facilitate  on-sight  student  attendance.   She  said  public                                                              
input asks  for a variety  of options in  the fall.   The district                                                              
will  need to  respond to  all scenarios,  and "there  is no  one-                                                              
size-fits-all model."   She said the district is  taking a blended                                                              
approach  and  plans  to  provide:     onsite  instruction  Monday                                                              
through Thursday,  with Friday serving as a  distance-learning day                                                              
for  students,   a  professional   development/planning   day  for                                                              
teachers,  and day  for  disinfecting schools;  district  learning                                                              
for all  families not able  to facilitate onsite  schooling; small                                                              
bubbles   in  classrooms,   with   limited  congregate   settings;                                                              
increased  health  and  safety   measures;  and  onsite  schedules                                                              
structured around the  needs of each grade level  and often around                                                              
each  student.   She named  barriers to  success as  the level  of                                                              
risk of COVID-19  at the beginning of the year  that may constrain                                                              
the district's  on-site efforts;  the level of  risk to  staff and                                                              
students, some  of whom are high  risk; and the  limited resources                                                              
on  hand "to  be able  to quickly  redesign education  as we  know                                                              
12:39:36 PM                                                                                                                   
MS.  LOUGEE referred  to slide  17  [but covered  material not  on                                                              
that slide]  regarding the  district's use  of CARES Act  funding,                                                              
which was a total  of $588,598 for fiscal year 2020  (FY 20).  She                                                              
related that  minus the  private school  allocation, the  district                                                              
was  left with  approximately $564,938  in expendable  funds.   Of                                                              
that, the district  will have less than $150,000 to  carry into FY                                                              
21.   She said, "All  of those costs  are currently  encumbered to                                                              
cover the  cost of PPE,  sanitation, online and  distance-learning                                                              
tools,  and  additional  staff  time."    She  said  the  district                                                              
expects to  incur $500,000 in  additional expenses to  provide for                                                              
space,  materials,  training,  sanitization,  devices,  additional                                                              
supplies  and  equipment, and  staffing  needs  to ensure  a  safe                                                              
environment  for   all.    She  expressed  appreciation   for  the                                                              
allocation of  money through  the CARES Act  but said it  does not                                                              
cover everything.   She said the  shortage of money  is compounded                                                              
by Governor  Dunleavy's  veto of  the supplemental  appropriation.                                                              
She emphasized that  the district must have  additional resources.                                                              
She thanked  the local borough  assembly and mayor  for supporting                                                              
the district  with an allocation  of $258,100 in  additional CARES                                                              
Act funds.   She said schools  provide students and  the community                                                              
with  more than  reading, writing,  and  math, and  she asked  the                                                              
committee for its  continued consideration for the  needs of KBGSD                                                              
in  making  it   through  this  challenge  and   creating  a  more                                                              
effective education system for all students.                                                                                    
12:42:35 PM                                                                                                                   
REPRESENTATIVE  DRUMMOND  asked  for more  details  regarding  the                                                              
private school support subtracted from the CARES Act allocation.                                                                
MS. LOUGEE  said she would have  to get back to  Co-Chair Drummond                                                              
with details.                                                                                                                   
12:43:14 PM                                                                                                                   
JOHN  O'BRIEN,  Ph.D.,  Superintendent,  Kenai  Peninsula  Borough                                                              
School District  (KPBSD), directed  attention to  slide 29  of the                                                              
current  PowerPoint  and  said he  would  discuss  the  district's                                                              
Smart Start plan  and the "serious fiscal concerns  facing most of                                                              
Alaska's school  districts."  He turned  to slide 30 and  said the                                                              
Smart Start  startup plan  was unanimously  approved by  the KPBSD                                                              
Board  of Education  on July  13, 2020.   The plan  will see  many                                                              
revisions throughout  the school  year as new medical  information                                                              
is gained  and the  science and  situation revolving the  pandemic                                                              
fluxes.    He   said  the  first  revision  will   likely  be  the                                                              
requirement  for all  staff  members and  older  students to  wear                                                              
face coverings  through all  risk levels, green  through red.   He                                                              
stated  that  many of  the  same  provisions discussed  by  former                                                              
superintendent speakers are also incorporated in the KPBSD plan.                                                                
12:45:14 PM                                                                                                                   
CLAYTON   HOLLAND,  Assistant   Superintendent,  Kenai   Peninsula                                                              
Borough School  District,  stated that KPBSD  has a  comprehensive                                                              
plan  and information  that can  be found  on its  web page.   Its                                                              
school work  group consists of  20 core members,  including school                                                              
leaders,  health experts,  and the  union president.   All  staff,                                                              
parents, and  students were  surveyed in May  and June,  with over                                                              
3,000 responses;  a statewide PTA  survey was reviewed;  and there                                                              
has been  consultation with  numerous other  district leaders  and                                                              
members of  the community.  He  thanked Dr. Zink  and Commissioner                                                              
Johnson for their  involvement.  He said equity is  sought for all                                                              
students  when considering  a plan.   He said  KPBSD comprises  42                                                              
diverse  schools across  a vast  area,  and not  everyone has  the                                                              
same access to technology  or support at home.   He emphasized the                                                              
importance  of parent  choice  in the  district,  and named  three                                                              
choices:   in-person learning, five  days a week;  remote learning                                                              
at  neighboring schools;  and  homeschooling.   He  said there  is                                                              
flexibility  to move  between these  choices as  risk and  comfort                                                              
level  changes.   He said  KPBSD  also focuses  on continuity  and                                                              
consistency in learning.   He indicated that students'  ability to                                                              
know when they  are going to be  at school is key to  their social                                                              
and  emotional  learning.    Mr.  Holland  said  the  district  is                                                              
concerned with safety  and wellbeing.  Further,  he emphasized the                                                              
importance of flexibility as new information becomes available.                                                                 
12:49:27 PM                                                                                                                   
DAVE JONES,  Assistant Superintendent  for Instructional  Support,                                                              
Kenai  Peninsula Borough  School District,  directed attention  to                                                              
slide 31,  which read as  follows [original punctuation  provided,                                                              
with some formatting changes]:                                                                                                  
     ?  Neighborhood school  enrollment  shift  to our  KPBSD                                                                   
     Connections Homeschool                                                                                                     
        Neighborhood  school  enrollment   loss  to  nonKPBSD                                                                   
     statewide correspondence programs Solutions                                                                                
     ?  Short   term:  FY21   Hold  Harmless  for   declining                                                                   
     enrollment districts                                                                                                       
     ?  Long  term:  FY22  enrollment  based  on  prior  year                                                                   
     actual enrollment                                                                                                          
     Decreased funding  = reduction of staff  and educational                                                                   
     What  if:  when  the  COVID19  pandemic  risk  is  over,                                                                   
     possibly  mid-year,  and  students  want  to  return  to                                                                   
     KPBSD neighborhood schools                                                                                                 
MR. JONES  said teachers  and staff  are scheduled  to return  for                                                              
in-service  on August  11.   Staffing  is  based on  pupil/teacher                                                              
ratios, and salaries  and benefits equal approximately  82 percent                                                              
of the  district's  total expenditure  budget.   He said based  on                                                              
last  year's  enrollments,  the  district predicts  it  will  have                                                              
8,573  students in  FY  21; 7,763,  or  roughly  91 percent,  were                                                              
predicted  to  be  in KPBSD's  neighborhood  schools;  810,  or  9                                                              
percent,  were  predicted  to be  in  the  district's  Connections                                                              
Homeschool.   He  said  the concern  in any  year  is whether  the                                                              
revenue  the district  receives from  "the October  20 day  count"                                                              
will support the  expenditures for which the district  has already                                                              
predicted and  to which the  district has  made a commitment.   He                                                              
stated, "I  believe this lag in  the revenue determination  is the                                                              
one   inherent  weakness   in  the   current  foundation   funding                                                              
formula."  He continued:                                                                                                        
     This  year, the  revenue concerns  have been  heightened                                                                   
     by the  volume of  calls we  have already received  from                                                                   
     parents  expressing concerns  of  having their  children                                                                   
     attend   the   in-person    neighborhood   schools   and                                                                   
     potentially  be exposed  to  the coronavirus.   What  we                                                                   
     have been  hearing is parents  saying they are  going to                                                                   
     protect  their children  by placing  them in  homeschool                                                                   
     correspondence  classes until  the coronavirus  concerns                                                                   
     pass, and then return to their neighborhood schools.                                                                       
     At this  time, it  would appear  that any resolution  to                                                                   
     the coronavirus  crisis will  last until at  least after                                                                   
     the October  20 day count period.   If students  move to                                                                   
     our  KPBSD  Connections  Homeschool   program  from  our                                                                   
     neighborhood  school, it's better  than if they  move to                                                                   
     a non-KPBSD  statewide program, but for  the Connections                                                                   
     students, we  will only receive 90 percent  of the [base                                                                   
     student  allocation]  (BSA)  value for  those  students,                                                                   
     and  they  will  not  be  put  through  the  multipliers                                                                   
     within  the   foundation  formula,   which  will   be  a                                                                   
     significant revenue loss for KPBSD.                                                                                        
     On  the   other  hand,  if   they  choose  a   non-KPBSD                                                                   
     statewide  correspondence program,  we  will receive  no                                                                   
     funding for  FY 21, but we  will be expected  to provide                                                                   
     educational services  when those students return  to our                                                                   
     neighborhood   schools  after  the  coronavirus   crisis                                                                   
     resolves.    This  revenue loss  concern  is  especially                                                                   
     alarming,  because  our  current   FY  21  general  fund                                                                   
     budget  deficit   is  expected  to  eliminate   all  our                                                                   
     unassigned fund balance.                                                                                                   
MR. JONES  said KPBSD would  like to see  a hold harmless  revenue                                                              
plan for  districts with declining  enrollments, so that  they can                                                              
fund  the  commitments  they  have   made  based  on  pre-pandemic                                                              
enrollments.   For the  long term, he  suggested revenue  be based                                                              
on  the   prior  year's  actual   enrollment,  which   would  help                                                              
districts  plan  for declining  enrollments.    He shared  that  a                                                              
similar  funding model  in another  state  provides districts  the                                                              
opportunity  to recalculate  support  if they  have an  enrollment                                                              
increase of 10 percent or greater.                                                                                              
12:54:10 PM                                                                                                                   
SHAWN   ARNOLD,  Superintendent,   Valdez   City  Schools   (VCS);                                                              
President,  Alaska   Superintendents  Association,  said   he  has                                                              
worked  with  all  the  presenters   to  "make  the  best  of  the                                                              
situation" and look  out for students.  He said there  are no easy                                                              
answers,  but  he emphasized  that  [districts]  are in  a  better                                                              
place  now than they  were entering  spring break  in March  2020.                                                              
Mr. Arnold  directed attention to  slide 33, which read  [in part]                                                              
as follows [original punctuation provided]:                                                                                     
     Phase Transition Considerations                                                                                            
     ? Prevalence in Community                                                                                                  
     ? Average Daily Number of Positive Cases                                                                                   
     ? Daily Hospitalizations                                                                                                   
     ? Number of patients in ICU                                                                                                
     ? Staff/Student Absences                                                                                                   
     Components of Each Phase Include                                                                                           
     ? Health and Safety Protocols                                                                                              
     ? Parent and Family Engagement                                                                                             
     ? Wraparound Support and Community Services                                                                                
     ? Transportation                                                                                                           
       ? Trauma Informed Practices/ Social and Emotional                                                                        
     ? Welcome Back Planning                                                                                                    
     ? Connections with Stakeholders                                                                                            
MR. ARNOLD  discussed the  phases shown on  the righthand  side of                                                              
slide 33,  [phases 1  through 5].   He  said part  of the  role of                                                              
educators  and  local leaders  is  "to  match what  the  community                                                              
wants," and  he said one  of the requests  from the  community was                                                              
"to  set  a  definitive number"  [regarding  risk  factors].    He                                                              
explained that  in terms of a  Smart Start framework,  VCS's phase                                                              
1 and  2 are  considered low  risk; phase  3 is  medium risk,  and                                                              
phase  4  is  high  risk.   He  said  the  numbers  shown  can  be                                                              
"deceptive."   He explained  that VCS  depends on  the input  of a                                                              
variety  of   experts,  including   local  stakeholders,   medical                                                              
experts,  a  phase-in committee,  local  physicians,  and  nurses,                                                              
including  an   infectious  disease   nurse.    Further,   VCS  is                                                              
attempting to contract  with an epidemiologist for advice.   It is                                                              
considering "multiple  ... factors  based on local  condition" and                                                              
makes   its    adjustments   within    its   schools    based   on                                                              
MR. ARNOLD  said Valdez has a  transient population of  people who                                                              
work  in  the fishing  and  oil  industries,  but "many  of  those                                                              
individuals don't  interact with any of the households  within our                                                              
community."   He said Valdez  has been  lucky to have  had limited                                                              
COVID-19 cases.                                                                                                                 
12:58:27 PM                                                                                                                   
MR. ARNOLD  turned to  slide 34,  which shows  an overview  of the                                                              
previously mentioned  phases from  slide 33.  Instructional  leave                                                              
will  be changed  depending  on  the phases.    He  said there  is                                                              
concern  that even  with  limited cases  in  Valdez, students  and                                                              
staff  may be  at  risk, and  VCS  wants to  give  its support  by                                                              
offering options.   There  is an  at-home option wherein  students                                                              
can "check  in live" and  teachers can  check in with  students at                                                              
home.  There is also a local homeschool program.                                                                                
MR. ARNOLD moved  on to slide 35, which read  as follows [original                                                              
punctuation provided]:                                                                                                          
     Considerations and Challenges                                                                                              
     ?  Planning  time and  training  for multiple  tiers  of                                                                   
          ? In-class instruction                                                                                                
          ? Fully virtual                                                                                                       
          ? Hybrid of the two                                                                                                   
     ? Adequate  supplies and  staffing available to  support                                                                   
     healthy hygiene  practices, and  to routinely clean  and                                                                   
     disinfect objects and surfaces.                                                                                            
     ?  Support from  local health  officials  to review  and                                                                   
     update  plans, and to  determine if  or when to  dismiss                                                                   
     ? Physical,  social, and  emotional well-being  of staff                                                                   
     and students.                                                                                                              
     ? Reacclimatizing  students and  staff back to  physical                                                                   
     settings, new routines.                                                                                                    
     ? Managing expectations and logistical issues.                                                                             
     ?  Re-entry plan  changes  as more  information  becomes                                                                   
     available  and   as  recommendations  and   restrictions                                                                   
MR.  ARNOLD talked  about  bringing teachers  back  early and  the                                                              
challenges   of  learning   online  delivery   of  classes.     He                                                              
questioned whether  there is time  to adequately train staff.   He                                                              
described the challenges  of finding products for  purchase in the                                                              
state, such  as plexiglass  and various  styles of hand  sanitizer                                                              
pumps.   He  said there  is  no local  labor  pool for  increasing                                                              
staff needed,  for example, for  sanitizing the schools;  some are                                                              
making more on  unemployment than they would be  starting with the                                                              
MR.  ARNOLD  offered  his  understanding  that  VCS  is  receiving                                                              
approximately  $170,000 in  CARES  Act funds.   A  big portion  of                                                              
that has  been allocated  for a  school nurse.   He said  teachers                                                              
are being asked  to make determinations about whether  a child may                                                              
have  signs  of   COVID-19,  and  medical  support   for  that  is                                                              
important.   Regarding  support  from local  health officials,  he                                                              
stated,  "We wouldn't  be able  to  do it  if we  didn't have  the                                                              
resources available  at our  community."  He  said he  can imagine                                                              
what a challenge  it would be for any school without  a nurse.  He                                                              
talked  about  social  distancing   and  the  need  for  continual                                                              
evolution with time.  He offered to answer questions.                                                                           
1:06:05 PM                                                                                                                    
CO-CHAIR  DRUMMOND  thanked  all  the presenters.    She  remarked                                                              
there were  more than  the typical amount  of people  listening to                                                              
the meeting  telephonically.   She stated that  on July  10, 2020,                                                              
the  American  Academy  of  Pediatrics  changed  its  guidance  on                                                              
school  opening from  its previous  guidance of  June 29,  and she                                                              
highlighted  that it  had already  been two weeks  since July  10;                                                              
therefore, she predicted  there would continue to  be rapid change                                                              
necessitating everyone's  attention to "what's going  on out there                                                              
in terms  of information  that is  critical to  the health  of our                                                              
CO-CHAIR DRUMMOND  read from an  article by National  Public Radio                                                              
(NPR),  entitled  "The Nation's  Pediatricians  Walk  Back to  the                                                              
Court for In-Person School," as follows:                                                                                        
     The previous  guidance was criticized for  saying little                                                                   
     about  the   safety  of   educators  and  other   school                                                                   
     personnel.   Friday's  statement ...,  co-signed by  the                                                                   
     two  national  teacher unions  and  ASA, ...  calls  for                                                                   
     putting  educators, as  well as  other stakeholders,  at                                                                   
     the  center  of decision  making.   It  emphasized  that                                                                   
     reopening  safely will  take  more money.    We call  on                                                                   
     Congress and  the Administration to provide  the federal                                                                   
     resources  needed  to  ensure  that  inadequate  funding                                                                   
     does  not  stand in  the  way  of safely  educating  and                                                                   
     caring for children in our schools.                                                                                        
CO-CHAIR DRUMMOND  said she  thinks the  committee has  heard from                                                              
almost all the  superintendents that spoke today that  money is an                                                              
issue.  She said  she is not aware of what Congress  would do, but                                                              
"we  clearly  need help,"  and  "it's  good  to know  what  school                                                              
districts  are doing  around the  state in order  to advocate  for                                                              
that additional assistance."                                                                                                    
1:09:27 PM                                                                                                                    
There being  no further business  before the committee,  the House                                                              
Education Standing Committee meeting was adjourned at 1:09 p.m.