Fairbanks North Star Borough School District announces remote schooling plan

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FAIRBANKS, Alaska (KTVF) Fairbanks North Star Borough School District Superintendent Karen Gaborik held a Facebook Live event March 31st in which she spoke to the community about the district’s plan to implement remote schooling in the midst of the novel coronavirus pandemic.

Remote learning options will vary depending on a student's access to technology. (Alex Bengel/KTVF)

Classes will still be held Monday through Friday. Elementary class times are from 8:30-10:45 a.m., with middle school from 1-3 p.m. and high school from 10:30 a.m. -12:30 p.m.

Gaborik said, “We have asked teachers to focus on those essential skills that students need right now.”

Using advice she read from an out-of-state district, Gaborik advised teachers to “take what you plan to do for fourth quarter, cut it in half, then cut it in half again and start there.”

The Teaching and Learning Department (TLD) is developing grading guidelines which Gaborik hopes will be available by the end of this week.

According to TLD Executive Director Melanie Hadaway, the district does not intend to penalize seniors who were on track to graduate because of the adjustments being made to their coursework. She said, “As a district, we are working very hard to make sure that families and students aren’t penalized for not being able to access education when it’s beyond their control.”

Hadaway emphasized that remote learning will look different for each student depending on the level of technology available in their home. “Our teachers are providing a variety of options to students and families be able to access those essential learnings that they would typically have during a full year experience,” she said.

While Gaborik says that the district does not have enough remote learning devices to provide for every student in the borough, she says that the district is striving to help as many families as they can with priority going toward graduating seniors and those with no devices at home.

Gaborik also announced that graduation ceremonies at the end of the school year will not be taking place in their traditional format. “We are still holding graduations. It’ll just be in a new format. I am committed to doing everything I can to support creative alternative ideas for graduations at each of our schools,” she said.

“We’re all in this together and we’re trying to figure out the best system that works to provide the instruction and the meaningful learning we need to provide for students,” Gaborik said.

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