BISD Board adopts reopening plan

The Bainbridge Island School District Board of Directors affirmed at their regular meeting on July 30 its commitment to starting the school year remotely.

As is the case with most of the other Kitsap County school districts, all BISD students will begin the year receiving online instruction. The district is offering two options to parents and students — the hybrid model, which would have offered in-person instruction on a part-time basis, but has been put on hold due to the worsening COVID-19 situation in Kitsap; or the 100 percent online learning model.

Hopes of having students in their buildings were dashed as coronavirus cases spiked in Kitsap in July. Those families that opted for the hybrid model would have seen students attend school in-person in either the morning or afternoon, and spend the other portion of the date learning remotely.

The board officially adopted its reopening plan July 30, which included the two learning models and moving hybrid students to online learning for at least the first nine weeks of the school year, after which district officials, in conjunction with local and state health officials, will reevaluate the situation to see if it is appropriate to have students return to school buildings. Exceptions may be made for special education students whose disabilities may hamper their ability to access online learning.

“I just want to say how thankful I am for each and every one of those comments,” Superintendent Peter Bang-Knudsen said, “and I know many folks have some very valid questions, some concerns, some criticisms, and to me that’s just showing the deep concern about education and public education on Bainbridge Island and the passion we all have for our kids.”

When that happens, Bainbridge is likely to see a large portion of their students attend in person.

As of the July 30 meeting, 2,709 students (71 percent) had selected one of the two learning options, and 1,091 (29 percent) had not. Of those who had made a choice, 2,420 (89.3 percent) are enrolled in the hybrid model and 289 (10.7 percent) are in the 100 percent online program.

Bang-Knudsen said the district will not have the flexibility to allow for changes once a selection is made — it’s possible families might want to move their students to in-person instruction if there is more positive news on the COVID-19 front in the upcoming months — but he did leave open the possibility of doing so between semesters.