The North Kitsap School District is preparing for the school year, which will have students back in class full-time for the first time since March 2020, when the COVID-19 pandemic hit the area.
Despite returning to a regular schedule students and staff will still need to follow COVID-safe protocols, such as continued masking regardless of vaccination status.
In classrooms, students will be permitted to be 3 feet from each other as opposed to the 6 feet apart used at the end of last year during hybrid teaching. It is this change in particular that has allowed the district to return to full-time in-person learning as it is easier to accommodate all students into a classroom while keeping them safe, school officials said.
Students who ride school buses will be required to wear masks per orders from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. NKSD will also continue to utilize a response plan for COVID infection, though attestation forms will no longer be required.
While making mandates and vaccination verification has become a controversial topic in terms of children returning to school, NKSD has received little pushback for holding to state guidelines, district officials say.
NKSD is also offering at-home learning options through North Kitsap Online Academy, for students and families who feel unsafe returning to in-person learning or who prefer the online learning experience.
Additionally, this year NKSD is introducing a new program called NKSD Connected.
“A new approach to teaching and learning that harnesses the power of digital resources and tools to ensure all students are given authentic, relevant and engaging learning experiences,” reads a newsletter that went out to NKSD families.
Through this program, all NKSD students will be provided with a laptop to ensure equal access to information and education resources.
The first day of school for grades 1-12 is Sept. 1, with kindergarten starting Sept. 7, with all students back to their regular five-days-a-week schedules.
For elementary students (grades K-5) school starts at 9:20 a.m. and ends at 3:50 p.m., except on Wednesdays when school ends at 2:50 p.m.
For middle school students (grades 6-8) it will depend on whether the students attend Kingston Middle or Poulsbo Middle school. At Kingston, the day starts at 8:05 a.m. and ends at 2:35 p.m. with a Wednesday early release schedule of 1:35 p.m. At Poulsbo, the day begins at 7:55 a.m. and ends at 2:25 p.m. with a Wednesday early release time of 1:25 p.m.
Finally, for students who attend both North Kitsap and Kingston high schools (grades 9-12) the day begins at 7:55 a.m. and ends at 2: 25 p.m. with Wednesday early release at 1:25 p.m.