Secondary students set to start returning Monday

The North Kitsap High School spirit rock was relocated to its new home in the campus commons in an effort to remain central to the school, but also monitor the messaging that goes on the rock. Courtesy photo

A newsletter sent out to North Kitsap School District families outlined the return this month of middle and high school students to in-school education.

“As we have shared over the past several weeks, our district leaders, principals, teacher association leaders, maintenance and custodial teams, transportation team, technology team, and food services team have been diligently planning and preparing to bring our middle and high school students back for in-person learning in March,” reads the newsletter.

Similar to elementary school students, secondary school students have been broken into groups, with two different grade-level cohorts starting on the same day. For example 6th- and 9th-graders in cohort A will start school March 15, while 6th- and 9th-graders in cohort B will start March 16. Grades 7 and 12 with start on the 18th and 19th and grades 8, 10 and 11 will start on the 22nd and 23rd.

Students in the A cohort will attend school on Mondays and Thursdays and students in the B cohort will attend on Tuesdays and Fridays. Like the elementary school Wednesdays will be used for distance learning and a day to sanitize the schools. Each school day will begin at 10 a.m. and go until 2:05 p.m.

The students will be divided into even smaller groups at lunch time, which will occur just before 5th period and will last about 30 minutes. The district will provide grab and go lunches for those who don’t bring a lunch. Also breakfast and lunch will be available for those who take food home for the days when they aren’t in school.

The students have been divided into cohorts based on their surnames, keeping siblings and students that live in the same households in the same cohort, which both keeps families safe and eases transportation concerns. Students should receive their class schedules by the end of the day March 5.

“We are excited to share that thanks to the diligent work of our district and school leaders, in cooperation with our teachers’ association, we are ready to welcome back our secondary students in the hybrid learning model,” reads the newsletter.

NKSD has faced several challenges over the last few weeks trying to negotiate reopening secondary schools. Apart from scheduling challenges, one of the biggest problems with sending middle and high schoolers back was transportation services.

The district sent out a survey to families to assess the needs of students who take the bus. The data has allowed the district to create a schedule that it hopes works for everyone and is safe. The district, however, is still encouraging families to transport students to school or have them self transport when possible.

The district also took into account that some families may not be ready to send their students back or have circumstances that prevent their student from returning.

“We recognize that this is an adjustment from the model we communicated in July and is a different model than elementary schools are using. We also know that it is a difficult transition for some families. We will do our best to address any hardships this may cause individual families on a case-by-case basis. Please reach out to your school principal next week if you need assistance,” concludes the newsletter.

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