Changes to bring students to class

Port Townsend adjusts model

PORT TOWNSEND — More students will attend Port Townsend School District classrooms in person next month following changes to the district’s learning model.

New plans allow for some elementary, middle school and high school students to attend full day in-person two to five days a week starting in mid-April, depending on the specific grade level.

School districts in Chimacum, Quilcene and Brinnon have yet to make any changes to their learning models.

“We are excited to offer more in-person learning for our students,” said Sarah Rubenstein, Port Townsend School District communications manager. “We know how difficult it’s been for families and students, and this provides us more of an opportunity to support students emotionally and academically.”

Salish Coast Elementary blended-model students in kindergarten through second grade will return to full-time in-person education five days per week beginning April 12, and pure distance-learning students will remaining online, Rubenstein said.

Those students will have asynchronous learning — assigned work without instruction — on Thursdays and Fridays, Rubenstein said.

Parents and guardians of full distance-learning students within that age group who want their students to return to in-person learning will need to contact the school to be put on a waiting list, Rubenstein said.

Plans for third through fifth grades and Optional Education Program (OPEPO) students are still being finalized. Further announcement of specific plans is expected later this week, Rubenstein said.

Blue Heron Middle School sixth- through eighth-grade blended-learning students will attend four days a week, with Wednesday being an asynchronous learning day, beginning April 19.

Two additional asynchronous learning days will be April 12 and 13, Rubenstein said.

The two asynchronous learning days for Blue Heron and Salish Coast students is for teachers to have time to prepare for their students, Rubenstein said.

Blue Heron distance learners will have four days of Zoom instruction each week, with Wednesdays as an asynchronous learning day. Students who attend Wednesday intervention will continue to meet every Wednesday, Rubenstein said.

April 15 and 16 will still be A/B cohort days, she added.

Parents and guardians of Blue Heron distance-learning students who want to change to blended are encouraged to email Kirsten Bledsoe at [email protected] by 3 p.m. Wednesday and the district will work to accommodate depending on available space, Rubenstein said.

Port Townsend High School students who choose to attend in-person classes two days per week may do so either Monday and Thursday or Tuesday and Friday. The days are split into Group A and Group B, but they are not cohorts that stay together the entire day; rather, the students will learn through their typical six-period day while in person, and they will work through teacher worklists the three days they’re not attending, Rubenstein said.

The full schedule and group lists can be found at https://tinyurl.com/PDN-PTHSschedule.

The expanded reopening of classrooms is due to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention-released guidelines for schools, reducing the required space between students to 3 feet, as long as face mask and ventilation protocols are followed, and the state adopting the requirements last week, Rubenstein said.

The district will keep students 6 feet apart when possible, and it will continue to follow hygiene and masking protocols, she added.

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Jefferson County reporter Zach Jablonski can be reached at 360-385-2335, ext. 5, or at [email protected]

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