Juneau Huskies’ Noah Chambers, Jamal Johnson, Wallace Adams and Jarrell Williams head to the draw against Colony last week. The Huskies have an extensive COVID mitigation plan in place for the season. (Klas Stolpe)
Juneau, Alaska (KINY) – With the City and Borough of Juneau Emergency Operations Center raising the COVID-19 community risk to Level 3 High, the Juneau School District is working to keep events going. weekend high school athletics scheduled, according to JSD Superintendent Brigitte Weiss.
“Everything happens quickly,” Weiss said. “We are adapting as quickly as possible to new expectations and directives. We still believe at this stage, we are still a few days away, to be able to continue our activities for the weekend. These are outdoor activities, which help us enormously.
Teams from hosts Juneau-Douglas and Thunder Mountain, Petersburg, Haines and Skagway are scheduled to attend Saturday’s Sayeik Invitational cross-country meet at Sandy Beach, an event that also includes a community run. The Juneau Huskies football team is set to host a highly anticipated game with the Dimond High School Lynx of Anchorage.
Weiss said the Dimond team would arrive, play and leave on the same day. It’s the same mitigation plan the Huskies and Crimson Bears and Falcons submitted to the district before the start of their seasons.
“We already have many mitigation strategies in place to help us do this in the safest way possible,” she said. “Again, we are still a few days away, so things could change. For the cross-country competition, some districts may decide not to come. »
The Juneau School District is tied to the city’s mitigation plan.
“We have some exceptions because we have a different environment and a mandatory requirement to provide services to children,” Weiss said. “We have certain exemptions to be able to operate. But regarding the masking decision and that we are outside on their property to exercise, we expect our guests to follow these guidelines.
Weiss said the school district expects attendees at sporting events this weekend to be six feet apart or wear masks.
“We don’t want crowded booths without masks,” she said.
Weiss said policing this policy is the challenge and asks for help from the community.
“Our ability to keep activities going depends on how well we can keep people healthy and how the level of COVID in Juneau goes up and down,” she said. “We cannot force anyone to do anything and we certainly have a challenge ahead. Last year we saw the challenge at some of our events that were monitoring this. So we really rely on people’s cooperation.
Continued spread of COVID or attendee opt-outs of mitigation policies could result in closure of in-person activities and enrollment.
Weiss said that the travel situation of each activity is monitored taking into account where the events are taking place, whether the event is indoors or outdoors, the duration of a trip and the levels of travel. mitigation of host and traveling communities.
“We try to be clear on all variations,” Weiss said. “Literally, every trip has been different depending on the circumstances. We hold ourselves to a high standard in terms of what we do to provide the right opportunities for children and support for children and to keep our schools and community safe. At the end of our day, the biggest number one priority continues and always will be to maintain full-time in-person learning with as little disruption as possible. That’s our first priority, everything else has to fit around that.
Teams traveling to Juneau must follow JSD mitigation policies.
According to the state health department, about 76 percent of Juneau residents age 12 or older are fully immunized. Statewide, that figure is about 54 percent.
Most of the state is considered at a high alert level, a designation based on new cases reported in the past seven days. Juneau and Anchorage are among those in high alert areas.
Currently, athletes can play outside without a mask. Spectators must be masked.
Student-athletes are also tested weekly and may be exempt from testing if fully vaccinated. There is no obligation to be vaccinated, but to be tested.
Weiss said the number of fans attending events, even outdoors, could be capped if COVID numbers increase.
“It was a strategy we used last year when we needed it,” she said. “We were hoping we wouldn’t have to, but we might have to move on to it if we don’t see a change in the trend here in Juneau.”