An aerial view of Kake in 2019. (Photo by Becky Meiers/KCAW)

Students in the Kupreanof Island village of Kake will resume in-person learning for the first time since the start of the pandemic.

The Kake City School Board announced this week that the district will adopt a mixture of in-person and remote learning starting February 8, barring any new active cases in the community. Students who want to remain fully remote still have the option. 

Kake City School District Superintendent Rich Catahay says the teachers are excited to have students back in the building, participating in hands-on activities.

“We look forward to seeing our students back in classes, looking at those huge smiles and the conversations that we have,” he said. “There’s nothing like in-person learning.”

Catahay said a recent survey of local parents showed that two out of three preferred a return to in-person learning. He says a number of factors influenced the board’s decision, including availability of semi-monthly testing for staff and students through Kake’s Tribe, the Organized Village of Kake, and widespread vaccinations. Nearly 60 percent of adults in Kake have received their first dose, according to data from SEARHC and the U.S. Census.

“With the vaccine and the screening and just being smart about COVID at this time, we hope that we would limit the number of cases in town, a lot less than the possibility that we had back then before the vaccine,” he said.

Kake has reported 27 cases of the coronavirus since the start of the pandemic, but hasn’t reported a new case since December. If an active case is reported, Kake will return to remote learning for 14 days in accordance with the district’s smart start plan.

Erin McKinstry is a Report for America corps member.