Public schools on Bainbridge closed through April 24 – at least

Bainbridge Island public schools will remain closed through April 24, at least, the Bainbridge Island School District announced Thursday night.

Schools had already been closed for Thursday and Friday, but district officials said they were expanding the closure after Governor Jay Inslee announced Thursday afternoon that all K-12 schools in King, Pierce and Snohomish counties would be closed starting next week — or sooner — through April 24.

Bainbridge officials noted that Inslee’s closure proclamation also included schools that border the three counties, including the Bainbridge Island School District, the Darrington School District and the Stanwood-Camano School District.

“I know this closure causes a great disruption for students, staff, families — and frankly, the entire community,” Superintendent Peter Bang-Knudsen said in Thursday’s announcement.

“Not only does school provide students with an education, but it also provides support, services, socialization and consistency. I am sad to think of our school operations temporarily halting mid-year, but faced with the mounting challenges from COVID-19, we have found ourselves in a situation like no other,” he added.

A total of 31 people in Washington state have died so far from the 2019 novel coronavirus (COVID-19), according to Thursday’s estimates from the Washington State Department of Health.

Most of the fatalities from coronavirus have occurred in King County; the number of deaths attributed to COVID-19 rose to 27 in the latest figures provided by the Department of Health.

There have been 457 cases of COVID-19 confirmed in Washington — with two of those on Bainbridge Island.

King County remains the epicenter of the outbreak, with 270 positive tests of COVID-19 confirmed.

Bainbridge officials, in the announcement earlier this week about the two-day closure of island schools, had warned parents to be ready for a long-term shutdown.

In his announcement, Bang-Knudsen said efforts were underway to put “remote educational” opportunities in place for students, as well as creating a plan to get meals to kids who rely on school meals.

“We are working with community partners to hammer out the logistics of childcare offerings for those parents who work in health care and emergency services,” Bang-Knudsen added.

The school district will announce a time later when students can get their belongings that were left behind in school buildings.