Coronavirus outbreaks at numerous Mat-Su schools that started last week prompted officials at six schools to shift to remote learning again for at least part of this week.
Colony Middle School, Colony High School and Pioneer Peak Elementary are closed for in-person learning this week. The three schools shifted to remote learning last Wednesday. As of Tuesday, officials were reporting 21, 23 and 32 staff or students testing positive for COVID-19 at each school, respectively.
Palmer High School, with 14 reported cases, was closed through Wednesday. Wasilla High School, with five reported cases, was closed through Tuesday.
Mat-Su Career and Tech High, with 10 reported cases, reopened to in-person learning Tuesday.
Matanuska-Susitna Borough School District administrators last week attributed the recent spike in COVID-19 cases to “unmasked activities,” especially sports. Activities were halted through Sunday but resumed this week, a district spokeswoman said.
Mat-Su was the only large school district in the state to open for in-person learning at the start of the school year. Since then, students have experienced periodic building closures. The district shifted to online school for two weeks late last year after surging case numbers left administrators unable to fill teaching positions and the scale of contact tracing needed overwhelmed public health workers.
Numerous other larger school districts in the state started reopening to in-person learning last month, including the Anchorage School District, the state’s largest. Five classrooms at four Anchorage elementary schools have currently shifted to online learning until later in the week, according to the district’s online dashboard. That happens when a student or staff member tests positive for the virus, when there are close contacts in a classroom or both, according to the district’s dashboard.