PORT ANGELES — Middle and high schoolers in Port Angeles will move to a hybrid A/B cohort in-person learning plan with each group on campus two days a week beginning early next month, while some of the other districts in the county plan earlier transitions.
Port Angeles School District board members adopted the plan in a unanimous 5-0 vote Thursday evening.
“Given the new guidelines from the state along with our numbers in the community and our health and safety practices that are documented and in place, we are ready to go to the next level and bring secondary back,” said Michelle Olsen, Port Angeles assistant superintendent.
The move to a blend of in-person and online learning will begin on Feb. 2 for junior high and high school students at Stevens Middle School, Port Angeles High School and Lincoln School.
Students in seventh, ninth and 12th grades will be the first to return to classrooms Feb. 2, with eighth, 10th and 11th graders coming back to schools Feb. 8.
The rationale for the divided return dates provided by the district’s Secondary Hybrid Planning Team, a group made up of certificated and classified staffers as well as school administrators, is three-pronged: to refine safety and health protocols before having a larger group on campus; seventh and ninth graders haven’t attended classes on their new campuses and will need more time to learn the layouts of each building; and 12th graders are included first to ensure as many students are engaged and on track to graduate as possible in June.
Students will attend on an A/B schedule with Group A on campus for advisory period and first period on Mondays and second and third periods on Thursdays.
Group B students will have their advisory period and first period classes on Tuesdays, with periods two and three on Fridays. Wednesdays will serve as remote learning days for both groups.
If Monday is a non-school day, Group A advisory period and first period will attend on Wednesday.
Classes will run from 8:45 a.m. to 11:35 a.m. at Port Angeles High School; 9 a.m. to 11:50 a.m. at Stevens and 12:30 p.m. to 3 p.m. at Lincoln. Each period at Stevens and PAHS will last 80 minutes with a building-determined passing time. Lincoln students will attend one class per day.
Disinfecting will be done before, during and after each class period and will follow district COVID-19 cleaning and disinfecting procedures.
Students will not eat lunch on campus and no food will be allowed in buildings or classrooms. Meals will be provided at the end of the school day.
“Lunch time is a very social time for secondary and very challenging to keep cohorts separate, so students will receive lunch as they leave campus to ensure health and safety,” the district’s recommendation reads.
The size of student cohorts at PAHS will be limited and the design of the campus will allow for distancing during class changes.
“The number of students in classrooms depends on size and space, but generally 15 or fewer students will be in each classroom,” PAHS Principal Jeff Clark said.
“The high school campus being older and spread out is a positive in 2021,” Olsen said. “Our transitions between cohorts and classes will mostly be taking place outside. We are thankful most of our buildings are separated right now because it helps with the healthy and safety practices.”
While students will be back in class, instruction still will follow the district’s remote learning model.
Stevens students will attend virtual meetings in the afternoons following in-person learning.
Port Angeles High Schoolers also will have educational responsibilities after classes.
“We know social connection is vital for middle schoolers so this gives them one more time to connect with classmates and teachers and get that support they may need,” Stevens principal Kristen Lunt said.
Port Angeles High Schoolers also will have work to do following in-person classes.
“The school day is not done when they head home,” Clark said. “They will have online learning responsibilities.”
Sequim School District will unveil its reopening guide for elementary, middle and high school students at Tuesday’s 6 p.m. virtual school board meeting.
The guide can be accessed at https://tinyurl.com/PDN-SequimSDPlan.
Students will return on an AA/BB hybrid model with AA students meeting Mondays and Tuesdays, BB students Thursdays and Fridays and remote learning on Wednesdays.
Elementary students in grades K-5 and special education students will return Jan. 26, middle schoolers in grades six through eight will come back Feb. 16 and a March 1 return date is planned for high school students.
Crescent Superintendent Dave Bingham said he is hopeful that by Feb. 1 the district can add seventh and eighth graders to the four days a week in-person schedule its kindergarten through sixth grade students have followed since the third week of October.
Students in grades 7-12 are on an A-B hybrid schedule with one group attending class Monday and Thursday and the other group attending school Tuesday and Friday. Both groups learn off-campus on Wednesdays.
“We are trying not to be definite, but we are really hoping that by the fourth quarter we have all of our high school students on campus. It all centers on available square footage and staffing.”
Clallam Bay students in kindergarten through 12th grade will transition back Tuesday to the A/B hybrid plan in place prior to Thanksgiving with students attending in-person classes Mondays and Wednesdays and Tuesdays and Thursdays with Friday reserved for remote learning.
Plans are in the works to return Neah Bay students to classrooms for the first time since March said Cape Flattery School District Superintendent Michelle Parkin.
“The [Makah] tribe has offered vaccinations to all essential workers, including Neah Bay campus employees and a large percentage, over 90 percent has volunteered to participate in the vaccine clinics,” Parkin said.
“We also are looking at where we can access vaccinations for our Clallam Bay staff as well because the sooner we can find access for both district sites, the sooner we can return more students to classrooms.”
Parkin said the district plans to submit initial plans for Neah Bay students to return to classes to tribal administration and health officials Tuesday.
“The tribe and Emergency Operations Center will review it and provide feedback. We are looking at the Jan. 27 school board meeting to begin discussing potential dates for in-person learning.”
Parkin said the initial number of returnees will be capped at 60 of the school’s most at-risk students, including those in special education, with IEP’s and seniors in danger of not graduating.
“The tribe offering the vaccination clinics and allowing our staff access really speeds up the process,” Parkin said. “And provides reassurance for the staff members and another layer of comfort for parents that they are sending their kids to a safe environment.”
The Forks-area district has not announced any changes to its current hybrid learning model for students in grades K-12.
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