QUILCENE — South Jefferson County students were welcomed back into their classrooms Monday to applause from teachers and staff, as well as rain reminiscent of a typical fall morning.
Both Quilcene and Brinnon school districts opened Monday with COVID-19 prevention protocols, such as mask wearing and social distancing, in place to limit possible spread of the virus.
Students returned to full-time, in-person learning for the first time since 2019.
It felt “really good” to return to five-days-per-week learning, with a mix of traditional learning and newer protocols due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Quilcene School District Superintendent Frank Redmon said Monday morning.
“There’s a lot of real positive energy,” he said. “Teachers are happy and excited about being full-time, in person.
“One of the things I appreciate about the community is the students understanding the need for masking and distancing to be able to keep schools open full-time.”
Redmon said he appreciates the work that Principal Sean Moss, teachers and staff have put into preparing for the school year to keep students and staff safe while COVID-19 case rates continue to increase across the state.
“They’ve all just done an amazing job getting things ready for students to be back,” Redmon said.
Moss said he’s glad to have students back.
“It’s just awesome,” he said. “We missed having everyone in the classrooms.”
Brinnon School District is unique among the four Jefferson County public school districts because it offered four days a week of full in-person learning all year last year. However, it still felt good to have students return full-time this year, Superintendent Trish Beathard said.
“We worked hard all summer to make today go well, and it’s been a great day,” Beathard said Monday afternoon. “We have some new teachers, and they’re excited and their classrooms are beautiful, and kids were excited to see each other and excited for school.
“It’s just been a great day. We’re just super happy to be back and hope that we can stay open all school year.”
Quilcene chose to start earlier this year to allow students to ease back into in-person learning with the addition of new breaks, including extending the Thanksgiving break to a full week and adding a new mid-winter break in addition to the standard winter holiday and spring breaks.
Brinnon is a K-8 school, so most Brinnon high school students attend classes in Quilcene. Officials decided to follow Quilcene’s lead on scheduling to make it easier on families with students in both districts.
Port Townsend and Chimacum school districts will have students return to their classrooms on Sept. 7.
Jefferson County reporter Zach Jablonski can be reached at 360-385-2335, ext. 5, or at [email protected]