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Ketchikan High School latest to close due to COVID-19

Two schools in the Matanuska-Susitna Borough are now closed to in-person learning.
Welcome to Ketchikan sign.
Welcome to Ketchikan sign.(KTUU)
Published: Aug. 30, 2021 at 6:29 PM AKDT|Updated: Aug. 30, 2021 at 6:39 PM AKDT
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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - Ketchikan High School in Southeast Alaska is the latest school to close due to positive COVID-19 cases, and a second school in the Matanuska-Susitna Borough has closed to in-person learning as well.

In an email to students, staff and families that was sent to Alaska’s News Source, Principal Jason House announced Monday that the high school closed at 10:45 a.m. and all students were sent home.

According to the email, the school was notified of additional positive COVID-19 cases impacting the school. Ketchikan High School was closed in accordance with the Ketchikan Gateway Borough School District’s Strong Start mitigation plan, the email said.

The mitigation plan states that a school should be closed for at least 24 hours if multiple cases that are not linked to each other are identified in a school. According to the email to families and staff, Ketchikan High School will reopen no earlier than Wednesday.

The district’s plan states that students will be learning in-person regardless of the district-wide risk level and the number of positive cases in the community at large.

Ketchikan High School is the latest school to close in Alaska after a rise in confirmed COVID-19 cases. Butte Elementary School in the Matanuska-Susitna Borough School District is closed to in-person education for this week after more than 20 new cases were identified in that school over seven days. Butte Elementary will operate under remote learning for the week and the school district will make a determination about the school’s status by Sept. 6.

In a letter to families on Monday, the principal of Glacier View School, also in the Mat-Su, announced that the school building would close and transition to online learning from this Tuesday through Friday. The district’s website notes that for Glacier View, there is community transmission of COVID-19 and that the school had two new positive cases in the last seven days.

A remote school on the Kenai Peninsula has been closed to in-person education a well. Nanwalek School across Kachemak Bay from Homer has been operating under remote learning since Aug. 25 due to an increase of COVID-19 cases in that community. That school will reopen to in-person instruction on Wednesday.

There are three schools in the Anchorage School District which have transitioned one classroom to online learning, and one school that has closed one classroom due to COVID-19.

Editor’s note: This article has been updated with additional information.

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