Port Angeles School District may return to virtual learning

Superintendent targets COVID-19 infection rate of 200 per 100,000

PORT ANGELES — The Port Angeles School District could move back to all-remote learning if Clallam County’s COVID-19 infection rate climbs above 200 per 100,000 population during a two-week period.

At a special meeting Sunday night, Superintendent Marty Brewer proposed closing the district’s schools if the infection rate hits 200 per 100,000, saying he would like to return to virtual instruction at the end of such a week.

Brewer sought the board’s approval, saying “this is a big decision.” Board members declined a motion to explicitly approve the proposal, voting 5-0 against it. However, the board also gave verbal approval to Brewer to make the decisions he needed to make in regard to COVID-19, saying he already had that authority.

Clallam County had an infection rate of 149 per 100,000 as of Sunday, although that number is expected to be updated on Monday.

The county has been hit by a large number of new COVID-19 cases in the past week, with 58 positives between Thursday and Sunday.

Three Jefferson County school districts — Port Townsend, Chimacum and Quilcene — will return to all-remote instruction next week, and Brinnon is considering a similar decision that could be made as soon as Monday.

Jefferson County had an infection rate of 100 per 100,000 on Sunday, and that number is expected to be updated Monday.

Port Angeles School District officials said during Sunday’s meeting that there is a potential for even higher increases if people, including district staff members, travel out of the area for the Thanksgiving holiday.

“I think [Brewer] has the authority over the day-to-day operations,” board member Cindy Kelly said. “I don’t think we need to paint ourselves in a corner. We don’t need a motion.”

“Make the right call when you need to,” board member Jacob Wright said.

A more detailed story will appear in the Peninsula Daily News print edition on Tuesday.

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Sports Editor Pierre LaBossiere can be reached by email at [email protected].

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