Alaska Smart Start 2020

Courtesy of Nayeli Ramirez

It's been nearly a year since Gov. Dunleavy closed public schools to help mitigate the spread of the coronavirus pandemic last spring. 

Since then, the Unalaska City School District has been bouncing back and forth between three different types of learning: home-based, in-person, and a combination of the two. And that 11-month juggling act has taken a toll on many of the island's teachers, parents, and students.


Laura Kraegel/KUCB

Under the district's latest revision of its Smart Start 2020 plan, Unalaska students will once again return to their classrooms beginning Monday, Feb. 1. 

The Unalaska School Board approved the district's revisions five to one at its special meeting on Monday. After suggesting opening schools later in the semester, Fernando Barrerra was the only board member to vote against moving forward with the district's revisions.

Laura Kraegel/KUCB


Since the beginning of December, Unalaska students have been in their classrooms for a total of just three days. They've spent the rest of that time learning from their homes.

Remote education has been a challenge for many teachers and families, especially recently, as the district shifted to in-person learning and back out again, all within about one week. 

Laura Kraegel/KUCB

The Unalaska School Board voted to adopt the school district's Smart Start 2020 Plan at its meeting Wednesday night.

The district will submit the plan to the state on August 7, and according to Unalaska City School District Superintendent John Conwell, officials with the Department of Education and Early Development (DEED) said they are hoping to return the plan with feedback within 24 hours.