Valdez Coronavirus Update

The following is an update on what Coronavirus prevention efforts have been taken here in Valdez and what services and operations that affects:

  • The Valdez School district met at Noon on Friday and has decided to extend Spring Break for a week.
  • The board scheduled a follow up meeting for Thursday, March 19th.
  • Letter from Valdez Superintendent Shawn Arnold (See Below)

The City of Valdez has the following facilities closed to the public:

  • Civic Center
  • Movie Theater
  • Recreation Center
  • Pool
  • Rock Wall
  • Gyms
  • Library
  • Salmonberry Ski Hill

The City reported that all other city facilities and departments will continue to operate as usual unless otherwise directed by the City Manager. Parks and Recreation will make updates to the Community Parks & Rec Hotline at 835-3200.

And now the info you have all been waiting for …toilet paper inventory.   Safeway Manager Joe Valero said they are getting a shipment of toilet paper on Saturday. “If people are particular about a specific brand,” Valero said, “they might be disappointed,” but he said Safeway is doing everything they can to meet the demand for toilet paper and groceries.  He said they have increased deliveries to 7 days a week to keep up with the demand.

Letter from Superintendent Shawn Arnold

13 March, 2020

Dear VCS Families,

The spread of a new coronavirus, which causes a disease known as COVID-19, continues to be a topic of great concern across the globe and dominates media headlines. As of yesterday, Alaska has one confirmed case.

During Spring Break many of our families and staff travel. Due to this increased risk of exposure and to provide support to those traveling home, VCS is extending spring break for students through Friday, March 20. The extension allows time for families and staff to return safely, prepare their households, and, if necessary, self-isolate without fear of associated stigma.

This announcement comes with deliberate consideration of our mission and the safety of our students and staff, as well as for the protection of the public at large.

Facility use, including adult and youth activities, are also cancelled through March 20.

It is likely a school closure may occur beyond March 20. Next week, employees will be returning to school. We will be conducting a needs assessment of families, including access to technology and internet services and continuity of essential services such as student meals. The Alaska Department of Education has allowed the student days missed next week to be transformed to in-service days.

We will be providing frequent updates through Facebook, Mass Notification, and our district website.

New “Symptom-Free” Schools Protocol
When schools reopen, and until the end of the school year, all VCS schools will adopt a “Symptom-Free” School Protocol* for students and staff.

The Symptom Free Schools Protocol includes the school day, co-curriculars, and sports.

Children and staff should not be at schools or school activities if any of these symptoms are present:

  • Temperature of 100 or greater
  • Cough
  • Constantly runny nose

*Exceptions for pre-existing conditions will be determined by the school administrator.

As members of the larger Valdez community, it is our responsibility to ensure we are implementing best practices to slow the spread of the new coronavirus. Social distancing through school closures is our first line of prevention.

Thank you for your cooperation.

Sincerely,
Shawn Arnold
Superintendent of Schools
Valdez City Schools