The Mat-Su Borough School District has suspended intradistrict indoor sports and activities and five schools will begin the week closed to in-class learning.
The action follows a rise in coronavirus numbers in the Valley and positive cases at several schools within the district.
Colony High School, Mat-Su Career and Technical High School, Mat-Su Central, Sherrod Elementary and Wasilla High will all be closed to in-school learning Monday and Tuesday.
Colony High had positive cases reported on Oct. 7, Oct. 15 and Oct. 16. Mat-Su Career Tech had positive cases on Oct. 14 and Oct. 16. A COVID case was reported at Mat-Su Central on Oct. 18. Cases at Sherrod were reported on Oct. 8 and Oct. 16. Another case was reported at Wasilla High on Oct. 17.
There are now 15 Valley schools that are considered medium risk, which the district describes as low to moderate level of community transmission. A 16th school, Redington Jr./Sr. High, had a positive case reported on Oct. 14, but is listed on the district’s website in the low risk category.
Susitna Valley Jr./Sr. High, Swanson Elementary, Tanaina Elementary, Teeland Middle School and Willow Elementary have also had cases reported since Friday, but those schools will be open on Monday.
Birchtree Charter, Burchell High, Finger Lake Elementary, Houston Jr./Sr. High and Meadow Lakes Elementary are all listed at the medium risk level.
The district announced Sunday at all intradistrict indoor sports and activities have been suspended until Oct. 31.
“Our primary focus has been to keep at-school learning open for students, but due to the Mat-Su Borough moving into the ‘high risk’ COVID alert level and in increase in the number of positive cases in our schools, the MSBSD Health Advisory Team is postponing all indoor, intradistrict competition,” district officials said in a press release.
At the high school level, this impacts sports such as volleyball and swimming and diving. The varsity football senior all-star game is still scheduled for Friday at 6 p.m. at Colony High, as of Sunday night.
Earlier this month, the Alaska Schools Activities Association canceled all fall state championship events. ASAA did allow competition within a region or district until Nov. 22. MSBSD’s decision supersedes ASAA’s call.
ASAA also postponed the start of all winter sports, including hockey, wrestling, Nordic skiing and basketball. The ASAA Board of Directors are set to meet again Nov. 9.
At least 20 new COVID-19 cases were reported in the Mat-Su Borough on consecutive days this weekend. A single-day record of 24 were reported on Saturday with another 20 on Sunday. There has been a total of 841 total cases in the Mat-Su, including 499 in Wasilla and 268 in Palmer. A total of 93 cases have been reported in the borough in the last seven days.
A total of 211 cases were reported in Alaska Sunday. It marks the 25th straight day of more than 100 new cases per day in Alaska.
Contact Frontiersman managing editor Jeremiah Bartz at firstname.lastname@example.org.