Ketchikan High School will be closed Thursday after two people associated with the school tested positive for COVID-19. That’s according to a statement from school district superintendent Beth Lougee.
The high school, known locally as Kayhi, had been running at 50% capacity since early November, when the district’s elected board voted to move middle- and high-schoolers to a mix of online and classroom learning amid a spike in cases. Kayhi students who were scheduled to attend in-person Thursday will move online for the day as crews disinfect and deep-clean the building. They’ll continue remote learning on Friday, though that was previously planned.
Local authorities lowered the community’s pandemic risk level early this week, and district officials had planned to return high-schoolers to full-time, in-person instruction starting Dec. 7, but it’s now unclear whether that’ll happen. District officials are waiting on more information about the infected people from local and state health officials, according to the statement.
As of Wednesday, Schoenbar Middle School is still on track to return to full-time instruction on Dec. 7, district officials say. That may be pushed back further, though, if the community’s risk level increases.
The two Kayhi cases are among nine new positives Ketchikan officials reported on Wednesday. One of those reported was in a setting where people live in close proximity — and health officials have been unable to link that case to other recent infections, leading them to classify it as community spread. Four of the cases are related to recent travel.
Local officials encourage anyone coming from out of town to get tested and quarantine for 14 days, with a second test at least a week after arriving. Free testing is available at Berth 3 in downtown Ketchikan every Tuesday through Saturday. Residents are also eligible for free testing at Ketchikan’s airport upon arrival.
As of Wednesday evening, local officials say 20 people are infected with COVID-19 in Ketchikan. The local community risk level remains at Level 2, or “moderate.”