Return to School Plan K - 6, January 11, 2021

Return to School Plan K - 6, January 11, 2021
Posted on 01/05/2021
Return to School Plan - January 11, 2021

Port Angeles, WA – Port Angeles School District (PASD or the District)

On Monday, January 11, 2021, Port Angeles School District will welcome back our Kindergarten, first, second, third, fourth, fifth, and sixth graders on the A/B Hybrid Model. Then on Thursday, January 14, 2021, our board of directors will review and potentially approve our secondary plan to return 7th-12th grade students to in-person learning.  The most significant challenge in our secondary schedules is the concept of cohort size.  Secondary students change classes several times each day, which increases the potential exposure risk, so we have developed a plan that reduces the number classes daily but still allows for in-person learning to occur.  
We have carefully evaluated transmission rates and other factors to conclude that our students and staff can start safely returning to school in January.  The three main considerations:

Port Angeles School District successfully carried out over two months of in-person instruction without a single Covid case by staff and/or students.  This means we have not experienced any community transmission within our schools. PASD safety measures have worked in our District and we are proud of the commitment from our staff, students, and community to carry out the work.  We encourage you to take time to review our safety plans for our elementary schools at https://portangelesschools.org/cms/One.aspx?portalId=142102&pageId=13687069. Secondary plans are currently in development with anticipation of students returning in early 2021. 

In early December, Washington State Department of Labor and Industries conducted a surprise visit to our District to review our safety protocols.  We are happy to report that L & I didn’t identify any hazards, and reported no violations on mandatory school protocols.  Passing this inspection validates the good work of our staff, students, and community. 

In December, Washington State Department of Health updated their in-person learning guidance based on new findings in the field relating to schools and transmission rates.  Both the DOH and Dr. Unthank remain confident that transmission risk in school is considered low when all safety measures are in place.  The State updated its metric to include a moderate rate of 50-350 cases per 100,000 over a 14 day period.  We are currently in the moderate range in Clallam County.  Here is the new State guidance for in-person learning:  https://www.doh.wa.gov/Portals/1/Documents/1600/coronavirus/DecisionTree-K12schools.pdf

We will have a positive start to school in 2021 given our partnerships and planning with staff, families, and the community.  We appreciate families being proactive in monitoring their child’s health so that we minimize possible health concerns. Staff, families, and community members have collaborated and communicated to support each child having access to on-line and/or hybrid learning opportunities. Staff across the district continue to work together to create systems and building wide health/safety practices to support in-person instruction.

PASD will continue providing meals to students and families. Pre-ordered meals will be available at PAHS beginning Tuesdays from 11am to 1pm and Thursdays from 4pm to 6pm. Meals can be ordered online at https://portangelesschools.org/mealform or by calling Nutrition Services at 360.565.1941. Meals will continue to be provided for on campus and off campus childcare/learning sites.

Finally, we are excited to bring in a New Year, and new opportunities for our community in 2021.  Together, we can and will get through this pandemic.  Nelson Mandela once said, “It always seems impossible until it’s done.”

For more information:
Carmen Geyer
Communications Coordinator
Port Angeles School District
[email protected]