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Colony High School in Palmer closed due to confirmed case of COVID-19

Lera Ritz brings a notebook computer to a waiting vehicle outside Colony High School in Palmer on Sept. 1, 2020. Colony High School on Oct. 7 said it would close temporarily following a confirmed case of COVID-19 in the school. (Marc Lester / ADN)

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Colony High School in Palmer is closed temporarily after a confirmed case of COVID-19 in the school.

The Matanuska-Susitna Borough School District sent email notification on Wednesday evening to families of students at Colony High School of the confirmed case and school closure.

Jillian Morrissey, a spokeswoman for the district, said the building closure is planned for Thursday and that families should expect an update before Friday.

The high school will be closed Thursday for cleaning, according to the email from the school’s principal, Brendon McMahon. He did not say whether the case was in a staff member or a student.

This latest case brings the total number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the district to 16 so far this year, with 15 cases at 11 different schools and one case in an administrative building. The cases have caused multiple temporary closures of school buildings and caused dozens of people to quarantine since the district opened for in-person classes in August.

Mat-Su Public Health has been notified of the case and contact tracing efforts are ongoing, according to the email.

Health officials have previously said they have not detected any in-school transmission of the virus so far. They were unable to respond to another inquiry made Wednesday.

Mat-Su Public Health or a school nurse will notify anyone who is found to be a “close contact” of the person confirmed to have COVID-19. Close contact means being within 6 feet or more of the person for more than 15 minutes.

Last week, the state’s chief medical officer announced the first student-to-student spread of the coronavirus in Alaska, but did not identify the school or district involved to protect the privacy of the students.

The Anchorage School District as of last Friday had 25 active cases of coronavirus confirmed among staff and students in the school district, with another 78 people in the district in quarantine.

Daily News reporter Zaz Hollander contributed.

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