The Ketchikan School Board unanimously approved all items on its Wednesday meeting agenda, including a request from the Tongass School of Arts and Sciences to be exempt from the Ketchikan School District’s COVID-19 mitigation protocols in order to impose stricter restrictions.

TSAS’s Academic Policy Committee on Dec. 12 voted to ask the district to let it set more restrictive COVID-19 mitigation policies than the rest of the district, after expressing concern about the district’s decision to pursue a “Test to Stay” program that would allow close contacts to known positives to stay in school through daily testing.

Board Member Paul Robbins Jr. expressed his support for the motion, despite disagreeing with the school’s policy stance.

”Although I find it unfortunate — with the new variant being less impactful, as far as people’s health, us having more vaccines, more people with vaccines in the community, seemingly going in the direction we want to go — that a school would choose to be more restrictive, but, being a charter school, this is the purpose of having charter schools: so we can have schools within our district that offer the community these kinds of choices,” said Robbins. “While it may not have been my choice, I fully support it, because that’s what makes a good school district, is having these varied offerings.”

The board unanimously voted to approve the request.

Also on Wednesday, the board approved the award of $384,051 in federal COVID-19 relief money to help the district support remote learning, and fully approved a change to the district’s nondiscrimination policy to add that “status as a survivor of domestic violence, sexual violence, or stalking” should not be a basis of discrimination or harassment for the district or its employees.

No members of the public testified at the start of Wednesday’s meeting.

Finally, the district entered two executive sessions during the meeting: one to discuss labor negotiations with the Technology Labor Staff Organization and another “regarding a student disciplinary matter in which the Board is acting as an adjudicatory body performing a quasi judicial function,” per the meeting agenda.

The board spent about 10 minutes in executive session to consider the disciplinary matter and to hear the district’s recommended action. The board voted 6-0 to affirm the district’s recommendation for the disciplinary matter. Robbins abstained from the vote, as he had not participated in a disciplinary hearing the week prior, Board Clerk-Treasurer Bridget Mattson confirmed in a message Wednesday.