Blatchley Middle School in 2018. A staff member at the school tested positive for the coronavirus. The school is continuing in-person classes and worked with public health officials to determine close contacts of the staff member. (Photo by KCAW staff)

A staff member at Blatchley Middle School has tested positive for the coronavirus.

The city reported the new case on Tuesday (10-13-20). The man is in his sixties and did not have symptoms when he took a test on Oct. 8, according to city data. Contact tracing is complete, and the case is marked as community spread, which means the man had no known contact with someone who had the virus. 

Sitka School District education director Chris Voron confirmed the new case is a staff member at Blatchley. He said the district sent a letter to the parents of Blatchley Middle School students Tuesday afternoon notifying them of the case. It’s the school’s second reported case of the coronavirus.

Veron also said the district is following recommendations from public health officials and that he and interim superintendent John Holst worked with public health contact tracers to determine close contacts of the staff member. Factors like ventilation, masking and the amount of time spent in close contact with the staff member all played a role. Those determined as close contacts are quarantining and being tested. Classes at Blatchley are continuing to meet in-person, as described in the district’s Smart Start plan.

This latest case brings Sitka’s cumulative case count to 72 — 54 resident cases and 18 non-resident cases. All but one case are marked as recovered on the city’s dashboard.