Cordova Jr./Sr. High school moves to online-only classes

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

Cordova Jr./Sr. The high school will go online-only until Feb. 4, due to an increasing number of pandemic-related student and staff absences. Mt. Eccles Elementary School will remain open for instruction in classrooms, Superintendent Alex Russin announced Monday, Jan. 24.

All extracurricular activities at CHS were also suspended from Jan. 24 to Feb. 4, he said.

Mt. Eccles Elementary students and teachers have been far less severely affected by the pandemic, he said.

Parents were urged to remain vigilant in monitoring their children for any symptoms and to contact their healthcare provider with any questions.

The CHS was closed on Tuesday January 25 to allow staff to prepare an online format for teaching until February 4. The school district will continue to monitor the situation and make any necessary adjustments, Russin said.

The announcement came following the latest statewide pandemic update from the Alaska Department of Health and Human Services of an additional 5,759 people who tested positive for COVID-19 in Alaska Jan. 21-23, plus 21 additional deaths. On January 21, DHSS reported that another 6,532 people had been confirmed to have COVID-19. That brought the five-day total to 12,291 new cases, including 13 in Cordova and 28 in the Copper River census area.

In a weekly media conference call on Thursday, Jan. 20, Dr. Anne Zink, the state’s chief medical officer, said Alaska is now in a new phase of the pandemic.

“We will see a rapid rise in rates, but not the same rate of hospitalizations,” she said. “We also have more protection now than before and more processing and testing functions than ever before.”

Zink also repeated his advice to those who think they have symptoms of COVID-19 to get tested around five days after being exposed to someone who has tested positive, or if they are traveling or have been indoors. with unmasked people.

Nationwide, health care officials say there are clear signs of optimism that the surge in the omicron variant is over, with experts saying the most serious threat may lie during the next month and reach its peak by the end of February. Sixteen states, including Alaska, have seen spikes in omicron variants over the past week.

Since the pandemic spread to Alaska in March 2020, there have been some 3,000 resident hospitalizations and 1,039 Alaska resident deaths. With the test kits now available for personal use, DHSS is no longer providing updates on the number of tests performed overall, but notes that the statewide alert level for the pandemic virus remains high.

Dr. Hannah Sanders, executive director of Cordova Community Medical Center, said that as the pandemic continues to impact the community, “we believe it is time for the prevention and treatment of this disease to be integrated to our daily medical practice.

Since the start of the pandemic, a fairly large team of medical providers has come together to procure equipment and supplies to protect personnel and deploy the vaccine, Sanders said. Thanks to the cooperation of all groups in the area, including schools and villages, they worked together very effectively, she said.

During the first weeks of the pandemic and beyond, one of the challenges was the quarantine of staff, due to exposure and/or tests that came back positive, “but overall , we were able to maintain our operations,” she said. “We had a coordinated response. Our staff did an excellent job. We had the equipment we needed. The team is confident in its response. We are now integrating pandemic management into normal daily medical practice.

Tamara Russin, Clinic Director and Director of Auxiliary Services at CCMC, oversaw setting up testing and securing vaccines for the hospital.

“The tests take place every day; it’s part of everyone’s daily life,” she said. “We are able to provide everyone with tests. We feel like we are doing something proactive, as if we are operating for the return of life as we would like. I hope we will overcome the pandemic.

“The big impact in the beginning was that we all had full-time jobs to start with, and then COVID became a priority,” said Vivian Knop, materials manager/pharmacy technician at CCMC. “We all had to find a new way to balance.

“Luckily because we’re far apart, I have a lot of stock on hand,” she said. “However, we encountered difficulties with the masks. There was coordination with the hospital and the Ilanka clinic for our supplies, to be sure that we could meet the health care needs.

At first, with no test kits available, health workers in Cordoba collected those who needed testing and sent the results to determine who had the virus and who did not.

“Now we have machines and equipment to do the testing (here),” Knop said. “A lot of people have done a lot of work. We had a lot of people who spent a lot of hours figuring out the process. We did pretty well.

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