WASILLA — Although Mat-Su Borough School District Students had Monday off, the eighth positive case of COVID-19 was announced at the fifth Valley school.
The difference in the positive case announced at Tanaina Elementary, as opposed to the other four schools, is that Tanaina experienced no interruption of in-person instruction. The positive case was identified over the weekend and Principal Cheri Matson notified parents on Monday night before the reopening of school to students and staff on Tuesday. According to the Tanaina Elementary School mitigation plan, the entire school facility including buses are disinfected daily. All Tanaina students who were not close contacts were able to return to school.
“Every single school is evaluated every single day,” said MSBSD Superintendent Dr. Randy Trani. “The staff at Tanaina had done such a great job with their mitigation plan and following it to a ‘t’ that we didn’t have to exclude the whole school like we had to do in the other cases. It was only a few classrooms. It’s much harder in middle schools and high schools because there’s so much mixing that goes on but all in all I think that we have done a remarkable job of making sure that students who wanted to be in brick and mortar learning are getting the opportunity.”
The first positive case within schools was announced on Aug. 27 at Machetanz Elementary School and resulted in a single-day closure. Colony High, Colony Middle and Pioneer Peak all closed last week for a period of time. At Machetanz, two positive cases were identified. At Colony High School and Colony Middle School, two cases were identified at each school. Colony closed last week and reopened on Tuesday where Pioneer Peak was only closed to in-person instruction last week as only one member of the school community tested positive. During a joint meeting of the MSBSD School Board and the Mat-Su Borough Assembly, Trani stressed the diligence of the Health Action Team that meets daily to assess risk of COVID-19 around Valley schools.