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After hitting COVID-19 ’red zone,’ Fairbanks schools halt sports events

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The Fairbanks North Star Borough School District on Monday announced that it is moving to the “red zone,” or high-risk level, of its coronavirus mitigation plan. That means it will have distance learning classes only, school buildings are closed to students and all sports events are canceled.

The change was effective as of 4 p.m. Monday, according to a written release from the district.

Although the district had been in its yellow, medium-risk zone, which in its plan includes some in-person learning, it had started the year with all remote learning.

The change means that all field trips will be cancelled, as well as inter-group events, sports events and extracurricular activities.

The district will implement distance learning until there is “minimal community spread and local health officials recommend school re-opening,” according to the release.

According to Alaska Schools Activities Association guidelines, all in-person sports events must cease while a school district is in a high-risk level. Outdoor sports practices can continue for individual skill development and conditioning only, and only under strict protocols that include 10-foot distancing between players.

Two Fairbanks football teams recently were forced to quarantine after a player at one high school tested positive for COVD-19.

Four of the district’s five football teams had canceled games scheduled for last week because of the coronavirus.

Correction: The original headline on this article incorrectly said the Fairbanks North Star Borough School District moved to distance learning after reaching the “red zone.” The district started the year with distance learning.

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