Juneau schools return to in-person classes

Students with desks spread out in a ropen floor
Students returned to in-person classes on Tuesday, Jan. 12 at Juneau Douglas High School. (Kristin Bartlett)

After 10 months, students at Juneau-Douglas High School had their first in-person classes on Tuesday. Superintendent Bridget Weiss said things are going smoothly so far.

“The student response has been amazing, they are really happy to be at school,” said Weiss. “It doesn’t look like school used to look. Every kid I talked to, I asked them, you know, are you still happy to be here, even though it doesn’t really look like normal? And they were all just very happy to be at school.”

The return to in-person classes is still optional for families, so schools have been operating at a much lower capacity than normal. Weiss said at elementary schools, there are four to eight students in each classroom.

Families who chose to have their kids return to school have also been cooperative. Weiss said that the district is prepared for any COVID-19 cases that could potentially be reported on campus.

“If we were to end up with a situation in a school that was concerning to us, we might stop in-person learning at a school for a little bit,” she said. “If the health status in Juneau changes and takes some significant increase spike, then we would reconsider overall operations.”

Along with voluntary testing for staff, Weiss said with the vaccine on its way, the district is looking forward to adding that to its mitigation strategy.