3 Mat-Su schools move to online-only learning after coronavirus infections reported

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Three Palmer-area schools moved to online learning this week after several coronavirus infections were reported in students, the Matanuska-Susitna Borough School District said.

Colony High School and Colony Middle School moved to distance learning Tuesday and are expected to resume in-person classes next Tuesday, according to a statement sent to parents Monday. Pioneer Peak Elementary was closed Tuesday and the district was expecting to send an update Wednesday, according to the district’s mitigation webpage.

Contact tracing takes longer in secondary-level schools because students switch classrooms for courses, said district spokeswoman Jillian Morrissey.

There were two confirmed virus infections in both Colony middle and high schools and one case at Pioneer Peak Elementary, Morrissey said.

“At this time, we do not have reason to believe there was transmission in the school,” the email to parents said.

Parents will be notified by health department officials in 24 to 48 hours if their child is suspected to have been in close contact or potentially exposed to the virus, Morrissey said. Any students who may have been exposed will continue distance learning and quarantine, she said.

The buildings and buses will be disinfected during the closure, the district said.


This is the second set of cases announced at Mat-Su schools. Last week a student at Machetanz Elementary contracted the virus.

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Tess Williams

Tess Williams is a reporter focusing on breaking news and public safety. Before joining the ADN in 2019, she was a reporter for the Grand Forks Herald in North Dakota. Contact her at