Port Townsend School District to present options for class resumption

Virtual meeting set for tonight

PORT TOWNSEND — Port Townsend School District officials will spell out options for the resumption of instruction during the time of COVID-19 and answer questions of parents in a special meeting at 5:30 p.m. today.

Parents can join the webinar, where they can ask questions, at tinyurl.com/PDN-PTWebinar, streaming it live on YouTube at tinyurl.com/PDN- PTYouTube or watch it any time after the meeting at the same YouTube address.

ASL interpretation will be available on both the webinar and Youtube streams. Spanish interpretation will be available only on the webinar.

The school board hopes to pass a reopening plan on Aug. 20. School is set to reopen on Sept. 8.

In the weeks leading up to the resumption of classes, district officials will update parents and ask them questions to help inform decisions about a school model.

The updates will be provided through an automated messaging system and posted to social media and at ptschools.org.

“We are aware that this is a constantly progressing situation and we may need to change our schooling models based on the most updated health data,” the school district said.

In June, the district formed a committee comprised of school administrators, teachers, staff, parents and students to discuss how schools would look in the fall and developed the first draft of a potential reopening plan.

The first draft had elementary school students attending school four days a week, and middle school and high school students in the classroom two days a week while learning from home three days a week.

The plan closely aligns with the recommendations issued last Wednesday by Gov. Jay Inslee and Chris Reykdal, the state Superintendent of Public Instruction, school officials said.

Inslee divided Washington counties into three categories: low risk, moderate risk and high risk, depending on their number of confirmed COVID-19 cases per 100,000 people, a formula which takes into account counties with less than 100,000 people.

As risk increases, so do the recommended restrictions.

Jefferson County was well within the low-risk category with 12.9 cases per 100,000 as of last week.

“The recent guidelines from the WA State Department of Health that the Governor and State Superintendent shared earlier this week are in line with previous guidelines,” said Sandy Gessner-Crabtree, Port Townsend interim superintendent, in a written statement.

“We continue to also work with our local health department and Dr. (Tom) Locke (Jefferson County public health officer) to ensure our school reopening plans take into account the health and safety of our staff and students,” she added.

Other school districts in Jefferson County are also grappling with their reopening plans.

Chimacum School District will release a draft of its reopening plan later this month. The first day of school is set for Sept. 8.

Quilcene School District’s reopening team is continuing to develop a plan. The first day of school is set for Sept. 2.

The first day of school in the Brinnon School District, which serves students through eighth grade, also will be Sept. 2.

Superintendent Patricia Beathard said families have been given three options: return to school full-time, participate in a hybrid model of two days of in-class instruction and three days of remote learning, or to go fully remote.

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Reporter Ken Park can be reached at kpark@peninsuladailynews.com.

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