Ketchikan is known for supporting its kids’ academics and activities.

It has a long history of doing that to prove it.

The First City’s public service on a variety of school-related boards and committees, its volunteering at events and its fundraising ensures that local youth get as many opportunities as possible while in the Ketchikan School District.

Indeed, youth academics and activities, such as sports, wouldn’t happen if not for the community. In some cases, with the cooperation of other Southeast communities.

The school year is starting Thursday, and this is important to keep in mind.

Much is invested by students, parents, the district and its staff and others who are integral to student achievement in the upcoming school year.

Particular to after-school activities, coordinating with other school districts in Southeast, raising funds and figuring out travel — airlines, ferries, housing and ground transportation — is time and labor intensive.

For the kids’ part, practice and training is done with the expectation that other regional teams will be able to come here and local teams will be allowed to visit. Practice and training is time intensive, as well.

Not to mention, the investment by parents, teachers, coaches and others — from substitute teachers to referees — who make the school year successful.

This month Ketchikan has been experiencing its highest number of cases since the onset of the novel coronavirus. This can be mitigated to a degree with vaccines and masks and/or social distancing.

The community is fairly divided about how to respond to the virus, judging by a recent Ketchikan School Board split vote regarding masking requirements at middle and high schools during the periods of a COVID-19 risk level deemed as “Moderate” (between six and 25 active cases in the community). The board president broke a 3-3 tie with his vote in favor of making masking optional during periods of moderate risk level.

But the board passed its COVID-19 mitigation plan. It’s in place. The school district is this week starting its second school year with the virus a concern. What happens from start to finish is largely up to Ketchikan.

The community and district working together to keep the virus in check will go a long way to ensure that all of the other efforts on the part of students, youth athletes and their community-wide support system are not in vain.