The Valley Park building houses Ketchikan’s two charter elementary schools. (KRBD file photo)

Ketchikan Charter School is pushing back its first day of classes after an employee tested positive for COVID-19. That’s according to a letter from principal Kayla Livingston sent to parents Tuesday afternoon. Livingston says the decision was made in coordination with state public health officials tracking the pandemic.

Instead of starting next Tuesday, September 8, most of the nearly 200 students enrolled at Ketchikan Charter School will return to classrooms Thursday, September 10. Some elementary students will return Friday, September 11. Livingston says teachers will reach out to families in the next few days with more specifics.

The Valley Park building, which houses Ketchikan Charter School, will reopen to staff Wednesday after crews disinfected and deep-cleaned the building. Livingston says a “majority” of the school’s staff will return to work Wednesday.

In a statement, district officials say public health authorities have advised close contacts of the positive staff member to quarantine for 14 days. It’s not clear how many staff members are in quarantine.

It’s also not clear where the staff member was infected. Public health officials classified the case as “community spread” Tuesday.

Local pandemic response officials didn’t report any new cases associated with the school Tuesday. Two non-residents tested positive Tuesday, but officials attribute those infections to recent travel — not the school.

District officials say Tongass School of Arts and Sciences, which shares a building with Ketchikan Charter School, will start as planned — next Tuesday, September 8.