WASILLA — Wasilla Middle School is now the third school in the Valley that has faced an extended closure due to positive cases of COVID-19 identified within the school. As of the Friday update to the Mat-Su Borough School District’s COVID-19 dashboard, only six schools remain listed as ‘yellow’ or intermediate danger of the spread of coronavirus. After a first positive case was identified at WMS on September 29, another was discovered on October 1 after students had returned for in-person instruction.
“Extended closures relate to the contact tracing efforts and supporting the Public Health investigations,” wrote MSBSD Public Information Officer Jillian Morrissey. “There is no evidence that the 2 positive cases at WMS are connected.”
WMS remained closed to students on Friday as it would have anyway with the altered schedule for the fall semester. A total of four positive cases were reported in schools near Wasilla last week. Cottonwood Creek Elementary identified a positive on September 28 and Iditarod Elementary reported a positive case on September 30. Both Elementary schools did not close and were reopen to in-person instruction for students the next day.
“Iditarod did not close. Close contacts were just excluded from school the following day after notification of the positive case,” wrote Morrissey. “There has been learning from the positive cases and tweaks and adjustments have been made.”
Wasilla Middle, Cottonwood Creek and Iditarod are all listed as ‘yellow’ and will reopen to in-person instruction on Monday. The other three schools currently listed as ‘yellow’ are Butte Elementary and Wasilla High School who identified positives on September 22 and Palmer High School whose positive case was identified September 14. Each school in the MSBSD is disinfected each night.
As of Friday, Alaska had reported 9,040 total positive cases of COVID-19 with 8,074 of those coming from Alaska residents. A total of 655 cases have been reported in the Mat-Su Valley including 11 nonresident cases. The Valley matched the previous high of cases in a single day with 18 this week on September 28 and the Alaska Department of Health and Social Services identified another five on Friday.
According to the DHSS COVID-19 dashboard, Mat-Su Regional Medical Center has no available Intensive Care Unit beds.