Exterior of Nome Elementary School, an off-white building with a smiling polar bear as its mascot.

Yesterday, Governor Mike Dunleavy extended the state-wide school closures through the rest of the school year. However, for school districts across the state, including Nome Public Schools (NPS), distance education will continue.

NPS’s Superintendent Jamie Burgess says this announcement did not come as a shock to the district.

“I think this was something that was kind of expected, once we got a little bit into our shutdown and it became apparent that the pandemic situation probably wasn’t going away anytime soon. Actually, a lot of the superintendents from around the state had requested that the governor and commissioner of education make the decision sooner rather than later.”

The governor’s mandate includes a provision that allows for the possibility of small-group meetings between students and teachers for “final student conferences.”

It is unknown at this time when these conferences will happen, if at all. It would be up to each school district to decide whether to enact this policy if it were to be put into effect.

Nome Public Schools (NPS) issued a statement via their Facebook page, announcing that local food deliveries will still continue. NPS was recently authorized to feed all children up to the age of 18 with breakfast and lunch deliveries each day, Monday through Friday.

While things are up in the air for how to close out the school year, Superintendent Burgess urges parents to direct any feedback they may have to their child’s teachers.

“If you’re getting too much contact or your kids are struggling with feeling like [they’ve] got too much work, please feel free to give feedback to our teachers. And if you feel your kids want or need more, tell them that as well. We’re all learning together what works best for our families and our kids.”

Burgess says more information about the end of school year graduations, logistics, and events will be forthcoming.

Image at top: Exterior of Nome Elementary School, August 22, 2018. Photo: David Dodman, KNOM.