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Nome School Board Stands Behind Back-to-School Plan, Approves Campus Repairs

Nome Beltz High School "den of the mighty nanooks"
Outside Nome Beltz High School in October 2018. Photo: Katie Kazmierski, KNOM.

The Nome School Board met last Tuesday night to discuss the school district’s reopening plan. Although still tentative, Nome schools are set to begin classes the last week of this month.

Nome Beltz Middle and High School will reopen on August 25th for students in grades 6, 7, and 9 only. All other students will return to the building on August 26th. For Anvil City Science Academy, students in grades 5 and 6 ONLY will return on August 25th, while all other students will return on August 26th. 

Nome Elementary will reopen to students in grades 1-5 on Monday, August 31st. Kindergarten will begin on Tuesday September 1st. 

All school days will be minimum days from August 25th to September 4th. The entire reopening plan outline, which was updated on the 11th, is listed on the Nome Public Schools’ website.

On Tuesday, the Nome School Board voiced its approval for the district’s Smart Start reopening plan. However, school board members and Superintendent Jamie Burgess recognize the need for flexibility as schools reopen amidst the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. 

“Everybody’s been very upbeat. We’ve got a lot of challenges. Some things we still don’t have all the answers for, but we’re working together and figuring it out and being positive. So it’s a great team to tackle this particular coming school year.”

Superintendent Burgess also discussed plans for using the remaining $170,000 in the CARES Act budget, which must be spent by December 31st. 

“A lot of it is probably going to go towards Personal Protective Equipment. We made one large order. We’re probably going to be making another one soon. We’re really wanting to make sure that, if we’re asking for masks and face shields, that we have plenty for staff and students.”

In addition to the Nome Public Schools’ reopening plan, the School Board voted to approve both the repairs to the Nome-Beltz Swimming pool and the rebuilding of the campus boiler. The pool repairs will cost around $65,000. Superintendent Burgess explained that the facility will not reopen until the following repairs have been completed.

“We’ll have the engineering done for the pump stands. They’ll take out the old ones; they’ll put the new ones in. They’re going to repair the piping because some of the piping has been repaired repeatedly over time, so we’ll be replacing that with some modern materials, more corrosion-resistant, and put in the hanger stand system for those to keep them in good shape. Then we’re also going to do a rebuild of the filters.”

The Nome Beltz campus boiler rebuild will require outsourced labor, so the Board approved a bid for Superior Mechanical Service to take over the rebuilding project. The cost, approximately $41,000, will come out of the school’s Capital Improvement Fund. 

With resounding approval for both repair projects, Superintendent Burgess thanked the Nome School Board and her team of teachers and administrators who came together to make this upcoming school year great. 

“They’re all, you know, hardworking and really totally focused on doing what’s best for kids for this coming school year.”

The next Nome School Board work session is Tuesday, August 25th, and the next regular meeting is scheduled for September 8th.

Image at top: Outside Nome Beltz High School in October 2018. Photo from Katie Kazmierski, KNOM.

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