Nome public schools move online after student-athlete tests positive for coronavirus

"home of the Nanooks" is written on the wall of a school with a geometric polar bear paiinnted on the wall
Outside Nome-Beltz High School in October 2018.(Katie Kazmierski/KNOM)

Nome public schools will open in the “Red Phase” after a student-athlete tested positive for COVID-19 on Aug. 20.

That means that when school opens next on Aug. 25, students will not be going to class at Nome-Beltz High School or Anvil City Science Academy school buildings, as originally planned. Instead, classes will be held in a fully distance-learning manner.

The district made the announcement in a media release on Thursday evening. 

Nome Public Schools did not identify which sports team the athlete is part of. School and public health officials are not confirming whether the entire team has been tested and or quarantined at this time.

Read more stories about how the coronavirus is affecting rural Alaska

Norton Sound Health Corporation officials encourage anyone who suspects they may be a contact of any positive COVID-19 case to go in for testing. NSHC spokesperson Reba Lean implored the community to be compassionate with any individuals who have the virus. 

“I think what we need to keep in mind as we see more and more [cases], is that no one tries to get this virus and certainly no one is trying to spread it,” she said.

Nome Public Schools reports that all school sports practices are suspended until further notice. Volleyball and cross-country had already begun practicing earlier in the summer. The cross-country team held their first race, the Musk-Ox Ramble, last weekend.

Nome Elementary School re-opening plans are so far unaffected by this newest case; those students were not scheduled to start in-person classes until at least August 31. However, Nome Public Schools says, “all children grades K-5 will be required to wear a face covering at school. Face coverings (masks or face shields) will be provided for any student who needs one; face coverings are on the school supply list.”

Parents of elementary students are being asked to contact their students’ teachers to attend individual meetings.