by K300 Staff
With the arrival of the omicron variant on the YK Delta in recent weeks, the K300 Race Committee has once again been forced to make a series of difficult decisions to support the health and safety of our communities, our volunteers and the mushers who participate in our events. What follows is not an exhaustive list but outlines some of the key changes we’ve made at this time. Further modifications are possible as we continue to monitor the situation and consult with regional health experts. The Kuskokwim 300 and Akiak Dash are still scheduled to start on 1/28 and 1/29, respectively, as planned.
•Indoor areas at the Tuluksak, Kalskag and Aniak checkpoints will be closed to the public. Only volunteers assigned to work at those checkpoints and mushers will be permitted.
•Spectators planning to follow the trail are advised that they will not be allowed access to indoor areas at any of the checkpoints and should plan accordingly.
•Most HQ operations will be handled remotely but any meetings or other functions taking place at the Longhouse Conference Room will be closed to the public.
Spectators at the Start/Finish Line
(Policies apply to the K300 start/finish, Akiak Dash start/finish, and Fireworks Show):
•Spectators are urged to remain in their vehicles.
•Social Distancing is required
•In accordance with the City of Bethel Mask Mandate, if distancing is not possible masks are required.
•1/29 Pamyua Concert (co-sponsored with SWAAG): CANCELED
•1/31 Awards Banquet: Closed to the public. At this time we plan to have only a small group of mushers and key race personnel meet in person for the awards ceremony. This event will be live-streamed.
Testing – We have updated our testing protocols as follows:
•Pre-travel testing for visitors: All mushers, handlers and race volunteers must provide proof of a negative Covid test (preferably PCR) taken within 72 hours of travel to Bethel. Results should be sent to [email protected] or 907-544-1300.
•Visiting mushers and handlers: Upon arrival in Bethel, all mushers and handlers will be provided with an at-home rapid test kit, which includes two tests. One test is to be performed immediately and the second must be performed the night before the race (Thursday 1/27). Both tests must be photographed within 10 minutes and photos sent to [email protected] or 907-544-1300. Results for tests taken the night before the race must be sent by 9pm.
•Local mushers and handlers: In Bethel, mushers must get tested at YKHC on Monday 1/24, 11:30am – 1:30pm (a PCR test is preferred but we understand they may not be available). For those who are not able to access testing in Bethel on Monday, you must get tested that day at your local clinic. Send results to [email protected] or (907)-544-1300. Additionally, at-home rapid test kits will be provided for testing the night before the race. Rapid test results must be photographed within 10 minutes and photos sent to [email protected] or 907-544-1300 by 9pm.
•Volunteers working in any indoor location (including checkpoints): Are required to have a negative rapid test within 24 hours of travel from Bethel and/or volunteer service. At-home tests will be provided by K300 as needed. Please send results to [email protected] or 907-544-1300.
As we announced in September 2021, all K300 mushers, handlers, volunteers, race officials and staff must be fully vaccinated against Covid-19. We have not changed our definition of “fully-vaccinated” to include booster shots but local health officials have suggested that we urge all who are eligible for a booster to get one as soon as possible as it greatly increases your protection against the omicron variant.
What happens if you test positive?
•Pre-travel: It probably goes without saying but you never know… if you test positive before traveling to Bethel, please stay home, even if you are asymptomatic. Consult with your health care provider or visit cdc.gov for the latest quarantining guidance.
•Visiting mushers, handlers or volunteers who test positive in Bethel: Together with YKHC we will place you in isolated housing for a minimum of 5 days. Meals are provided and if possible we will move dogs to the housing location as well. If that is not an option, we will see that they are well cared for by folks affiliated with the K300.
•Local mushers – call the YKHC covid hotline for quarantining guidance.
•Any musher who tests positive within 10 days of the start of the K300 (any time after 1/17) will not be allowed to race.
Please stay tuned at www.k300.org and www.facebook.com/kuskokwim300 for more updates.