Mat-Su elementary student tests positive for COVID-19

This scanning electron microscope image shows SARS-CoV-2 (in yellow) — the coronavirus that causes COVID-19 — isolated from a patient in the U.S., emerging from the surface of cells (in blue/pink) cultured in a lab. (National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases – Rocky Mountain Laboratories)

A third-grade student from Machetanz Elementary in Wasilla has tested positive for COVID-19, the Matanuska-Susitna Borough School District announced Thursday.

It’s the first confirmed case among students at the school district, and comes about a week after the new school year started. Mat-Su is the state’s largest school district to hold in-person classes this fall.

The student’s parent notified the district of the positive test result, said school district spokeswoman Jillian Morrissey. The student did not attend school Thursday and did not ride district school buses, the district said in a statement.

“The district is also not aware of any other contacts at other schools,” it said.

RELATED: Mat-Su school district charts its own path to reopening

Morrissey could not immediately provide information Thursday on whether the student was showing symptoms.

The district said the school is taking additional precautions to limit the mixing of students for the rest of the day, and will coordinate an early dismissal for any families who want to pick-up their children.

The school will close to in-person classes on Friday so it can be disinfected. It plans to reopen Monday.

That’s in line with the school’s COVID-19 mitigation plan, said Morrissey.

“We’re prepared for this as a district,” she said.

The district said health officials are tracing the student’s recent contacts. The district will notify families of any students determined to be in close contact — defined as within 6 feet for more than 15 minutes — within 24 to 48 hours.

Students can pick-up to-go meals at Colony High School on Friday from 10:30 am. to 12:30 p.m.

RELATED: State confirms 16 COVID-19 infections at McLaughlin Youth Center

The Mat-Su School District started the current school year on Aug. 19. It’s requiring most students to wear face masks, and it’s increasing cleanings. Each school has its own operational plan.

The Anchorage School District also started the school year last week, but with all classes online.

RELATED: ‘We’ll figure it out together’: Thousands of Anchorage teachers and students log on for the first day of school

Reach reporter Tegan Hanlon at or 907-550-8447.

Tegan Hanlon is the deputy digital editor at Alaska Public Media. Reach her at

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