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Multiple COVID-19 cases temporarily halt all in-person teaching at Lake Otis Elementary in Anchorage

Lake Otis Elementary School, photographed on April 20, 2021. (Marc Lester / ADN)

All Lake Otis Elementary School students have moved to online classes after the Anchorage School District confirmed “several cases of COVID-19 at the school involving multiple students and staff” last week, according to the district.

This is the first instance of an entire school moving completely online for 10 days, said Anchorage School District spokeswoman Lisa Miller.

Elementary school classes in ASD reopened in January of this year after 10 months of online learning.

A number of individual classrooms in the district have moved online after the reopening, but not whole schools. Since returning to in-person classes, “there has been roughly 2-5 classes transitioned to online learning at any given time due to COVID-19,” Miller said in an email.

Miller said that the move at Lake Otis Elementary — which happened on Friday, April 16 — was made “out of an abundance of caution.”

By April 14, four classes at Lake Otis Elementary were already taking place online due to positive cases, Miller said.

A voluntary testing clinic occurred the same day, when another positive result came back, which Miller said would have resulted in a fifth classroom transitioning online.

The entire district is reporting 105 active confirmed cases as of Tuesday, April 20.

Lake Otis Elementary classes will be online for six school days, and Miller said close contacts have been notified.

Students can return to in-person learning on Monday, April 26. Miller said a deep cleaning of the entire school will happen before then.

Parents have also been encouraged to get their children tested, even if they aren’t showing symptoms.

There are also now seven schools in the district that have recently transitioned one classroom to online learning for 10 days due to a confirmed positive COVID-19 test, close contacts or both: the Alaska Native Cultural Charter School; Alpenglow Elementary School; Girdwood Elementary School; Northern Lights ABC School; O’Malley Elementary School; Ptarmigan Elementary School; and Sand Lake Elementary School.

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